A family of business jets and a fractional ownership scheme are among the aspirations of Brian Barents, president and chief executive officer of the newly-formed Galaxy Aerospace.
Galaxy was launched in January, and Barents is using the company's maiden appearance at Paris to raise its international profile. The company is displaying its Astra SPX midsize business jet as well as a cabin mockup of the Galaxy super-midsize jet.
Much of the company's senior management team is made up of names very familiar to the industry. That team includes former Learjet marketing executive Roger Sperry, Galaxy's vice-president of sales and marketing and, of course, Barents himself, who relinquished his position as president and CEO of Learjet to take the helm at Galaxy.
"This is a business built on personal relationships," says Barents. "It is more than one person - it is a team and that team is what makes the difference.
"We have made some big changes in the industry and are well-recognised names. We will take advantage of the reputation we have acquired and we will be a good, experienced core team."
A key task for the team is development of a family of aircraft. "That is an important objective," says Barents. "We see markets both above the Galaxy and below the SPX, as well as between those two products.
"Although our first priority at the moment is the Galaxy, we are continuing with our market research and we will let the market determine where we go."
Also important to Barents is fractional ownership. "I am a firm believer in the concept," he says. "We will be involved with a fractional programme, either through a third party or on our own.
"I feel very strongly about the market and am sure we have barely scratched the surface. Some 80% of fractional customers are first-time users - so we are definitely interested.
"We are putting our plans together now, but the challenge will be to increase our production in sufficient quantities to handle both markets.
"Still, by the first quarter of 1998 I expect we will be able to say more on this."
Barents is in the final stages of deciding on a new location for the US headquarters. The choices have been trimmed down to either Dallas, Texas, or Jacksonville, Florida.
"Establishing a headquarters and factory service centre is very important. That has been lacking in the formula in the past," says Barents.
The first Galaxy production aircraft are expected to arrive at this completion centre during the fourth quarter of 1998 from the factory at Israel Aircraft Industries, Galaxy's joint-venture partner.
Barents says production rate will build up to 24 aircraft a year, but capacity will exist to ramp that up to 36 if necessary. SPX production, meanwhile, will increase from 11 a year to 15 during 1998. "The SPX is a remarkable aircraft," says Barents. "But it has not enjoyed the market acceptance it should have. Part of that is because we need to be more aggressive on the marketing front, especially in the US. You will see substantial increases in sales of the SPX."
Source: Flight Daily News