The Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family has reached the milestone of 100 sales, worth $5.5 billion based on list prices, just ten years after programme launch in 1997.
Initially comprising just one model, the Airbus ACJ, which evolved into a corporate jet from the A319, the family first expanded to include an A320 Prestige and, more recently, an A318 Elite.
Widely recognised as being the top-end of top-of-the-line corporate jets, the Airbus ACJ Family set new standards in comfort and spaciousness, introducing cabins that are still almost twice as wide and three times as voluminous as traditional business jets.
Featuring the most modern designs in its class, the Airbus ACJ Family also introduced new features to business aviation, such as the fly-by-wire controls that are now the industry standard, advanced fuel-saving aerodynamics and extensive use of weight-saving materials such as carbonfibre.
?Our initial forecast was for annual sales in this top-end category of just twelve aircraft a year, of which we expected to win a half,? comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy. ?We?ve done rather better than that and, with corporate jet customers increasingly recognising that they get a lot more for their money with our aircraft, we expect to do even better in the future,? he added.
Airbus has won more than 30 corporate jet orders this year, including no less than five VIP widebodies, setting a new record for the company. This compares with sales of 20 Airbus ACJ Family aircraft and one VIP widebody in 2006.
The five VIP widebodies include four Airbus A340s, whose four engines give customers attractive extra capability on long-haul flights ? including the ability to keep going to their destination, even in the unlikely event of an engine failure.
Airbus? corporate jet offerings also include the A380 which, with 551 sq metres/5,930 ft2 of floorspace on its two decks, is surely the ultimate private aircraft.
Airbus evolved its popular ACJ Family from the youthful designs of the A320 Family, adding extra fuel-tanks in the cargo hold to provide intercontinental range ? as well as a VIP cabin. It also added other features - such as built-in airstairs for autonomy at remote airports, high-thrust engines for excellent take-off performance, and a higher, more efficient, cruise altitude.
Airbus? A318 Elite typically flies 8 passengers 4,100 nm/7,600 km, the ACJ 8 passengers up to 6,000 nm/11,100 km, and the A320 Prestige 30 passengers up to 4,100 nm/7,600 km.
Airbus is an EADS company.