Air France Industries (AFI) has taken delivery of an Airbus A319 Corporate Jetliner at its aircraft completion centre in Toulouse.

The aircraft, which arrived three weeks ago, is one of two to be fitted with a VIP interior for the French Government. It represents AFI's first contract for completion of a new-generation corporate aircraft.

The A319CJ is scheduled for delivery in the autumn, with the second arriving soon, says marketing and sales VP Pierre-Yves Reville.

AFI can handle up to four A319CJs a year. It also offers A310 completion and hopes to sign a contract for this type by the end of June. This work would be carried out at its Paris Orly base.

The A319CJ is just one of several strong growth opportunities this expansive European maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) player sees over the next few years. Air France was the launch customer for the A320, and its maintenance arm has performed 50 D-checks on the type, more than any other provider. This experience means it can turn an A320 D-check around in just 28 days, some 10-12 days better than the competition, according to Reville. The A320 line is almost sold out for the next two years.

AFI will open its dedicated A320/Boeing 737 maintenance operation near Toulouse Blagnac Airport in 2003. It is moving its entire Toulouse overhaul operation from the present site at the private airport of Montaudran.

On the same day that its parent confirmed an order for 10 Airbus A380s, AFI declared that it was preparing to be a "major player" in A380 maintenance. It will build an A380 maintenance hangar at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and intends to perform airframe, engine and component repair and overhaul for the aircraft, possibly in co-operation with the original equipment manufacturer in some areas.

Source: Flight Daily News