Airbus corporate jet set to make South Africa debut

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Airbus will complete a major milestone later this month when it exhibits one of its corporate jet models at the Africa Aerospace & Defence show in South Africa.

This will be the first time the airframer has displayed its business jet line in sub-Saharan Africa, with a visit to Egypt its only previous venture to the continent.

Its attendance at the South African show, which starts on 19 September, will also mean Airbus is on the way to demonstrating its corporate aircraft range in every continent this year, save for Australasia and Antarctica, the largest ever geographical spread in a year for the airframer.

"South Africa's economy is the continent's most developed, so we see it very much as a potential market," says Airbus.

The company's most recent destination was the LABACE business aviation show in São Paulo, Brazil, where it had an ACJ318 operated by Global Jet on display. It will tick off its final continent for the year, North America, when it attends the National Business Aviation Association convention in Florida at the end of October.

So far this year it has taken orders for a "handful" of its ACJ aircraft, Airbus says, while declining to give a specific tally.

Delivery to a completion centre of its largest-ever business aircraft, the ACJ380 (MSN2) may be edging closer, too. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database lists the transaction with Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding as due to conclude in the middle of September. No further details of the deal are available, however.