There is nothing like being able to say "I told you so" - and for Brian Barents, Galaxy Aerospace's president and chief executive, that pleasure should prove especially sweet during Paris '99.

Two years ago, Barents and his fledgling company unveiled a cabin mockup of their proposed super-midsize Galaxy business jet and told the world they would have a certificated aircraft by the end of 1998.

At this show, Barents will make it clear he is a man of his word. Keeping to a tight schedule, the Galaxy gained certification in December and will be on display at Paris - offering a first glimpse of the completed aircraft.

"I believe that since last Paris we have established that we will be a major player in the industry. Everyone knows that now - our competitors and our customers," says Barents.

"When we formed the company in 1996, we said we would get certification by December 1998 and so it is very important to see that we have achieved our milestones. We have met them all.

"Obviously, the most significant milestone was certification because I believe that has given us a lot of credibility. There were many sceptics, but now we can say the aircraft is out there and it's doing what we said it would do."


First deliveries of the $17-million Galaxy will begin this summer. Production rate will reach two aircraft per month by the third quarter of 2000, when the company still plans to be building one Astra SPX light business jet per month.

Barents says the company, which has moved to an all-new factory and headquarters near Dallas, Texas, has a firm order backlog of $600 million - 85% of those orders being for the Galaxy.

Barents says some 40% of Galaxy sales are to customers outside of the USA - an unusual trait, given that the USA accounts for two-thirds of the world's business jet market.

"We think that perhaps the aircraft's extremely low operational costs and extra range are making it especially attractive in Europe and Latin America," says Barents. "In the longer term, we think the US market will make up somewhere between 60 and 65% of total sales."

Barents believes there will also be a lot of interest in the Galaxy for fractional ownership programmes. Galaxy Aerospace has had discussions with some fractional ownership companies.

"We hope that by the end of the year we will be involved in a programme," he says. "We think there is vast potential for the Galaxy because of its capabilities and operational costs - it's an attractive combination."


Having set up home in Texas, the company is now looking to set up a network of independent service and support facilities. "As the fleet grows, then so the network will need to grow," says Barents.

Initially, Galaxy Aerospace has its eye on establishing centres in north-east and south-east USA.

"The commitment I made two years ago was a commitment to build a world class service organisation and to be the best in the industry in product support," says Barents.

"The investment we have made in the new facility in Texas and our logistical support have verified that we indeed intend to follow that through."

Source: Flight Daily News