DaimlerChrysler Aviation has had to remove four of the 48 seats installed in its recently delivered Airbus A319 Corporate Jet (CJ) because there is insufficient space in the cargo hold for passengers' baggage.
The Stuttgart-based operator is looking, meanwhile, at the possibility of launching intra-European flights on behalf of its US-German parent company with the addition of a second Airbus type.
The A319CJ baggage problems occurred because the aircraft's rear cargo hold has four additional centre tanks (ACTs), to provide enough range to fly non-stop from Stuttgart to Detroit without extended-range twin engine operations (ETOPS) clearance.
The aircraft's forward cargo hold has a volume of 3.7m³ (130ft³), whereas 48 passengers typically carry baggage with a combined volume of 5m³, according to DaimlerChrysler Aviation managing director Frank Rösler. "The A319 was not designed as a long-range aircraft for transporting 48 passengers," he points out.
The replacement of the rear seat row with specially designed cargo containers provides enough space for 44 passengers and their baggage, says Rösler.
He adds that the problem should be solved by the end of this year when the company expects to receive 120min ETOPS approval, which will allow flight time to be cut by about 30min by taking a more direct route. This will mean that one of the ACTs can be removed, freeing rear-hold space.
The International Aero Engines V2500-powered A319CJoperates four weekly round trips from Stuttgart to Detroit, connecting DaimlerChrysler's dual headquarters. A fifth rotation may be added soon.
DaimlerChrysler Aviation is looking at acquiring a second Airbus type - possibly a corporate shuttle version of the A321 - for shorter routes. "There is the possibility of doing some round trips for DaimlerChrysler in Germany and in Europe," confirms Rösler.
Company employees frequently face extended journey times from Stuttgart when travelling on business because the city's airport is poorly served by airlines.
Airbus has no plans to launch an A321CJ formally at this stage, but says that it would sell the airliner in corporate configuration if a customer requires it.
Source: Flight International