Francois Chazelle, the new head of Airbus executive aircraft division, is confident the business boom that is driving sales of the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) family is here to stay.

“The signals are all very positive,” Chazelle said at the show yesterday. “We are seeing great interest in China, Russia and the Middle East, and despite everything we hear about the economic problems in the US, we are talking to a number of people who are interested in these aircraft.”

Since entering the corporate jet market with modest ambitions, Airbus has been surprised by the level of interest. As a wholly-owned division of the commercial aircraft manufacturer, the executive aviation part of the business has been able to gain access to slots on the production line and found management support for extension of the family of aircraft.

 A350XWB VIP Cabin
 A350XWB VIP cabin

The company continues to develop the variants to the commercial airliners. Earlier today it showed how additional fuel tanks are being installed in the factory to improve range and efficiency of the Elite.  We provide corporate jets from 14 passengers to more than 100,” Chazelle says.

The first A318 Elite, owned by Comlux, is on display at the static park and its spacious cabin will draw much attention. But most interest is likely to be taken by a scale model of the latest option from Airbus – the “Prestige” version of the new Airbus A350XWB. Undoubtedly the completion centres and the design houses will be taken a special look at what will be expected.

“We are very excited about the way the business is developing,” Chazelle says. “With the sale of the first A380 Flying Palace at the end of last year, and the prospect of another of the test aircraft being available, there is a lot of interest in the widebody models, and not just from the traditional market like the Gulf. We have 15 aircraft already in greater China and there will be demand for widebodies there as it grows.”

Last year both Boeing and Airbus sold seven widebodied corporate jets. So far this year Airbus has sold ten aircraft, of which two are widebodies. Boeing has sold nine with three widebodies.

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Source: Flight Daily News