The European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) opened at lunchtime today with a trio of major orders worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars.
Top of the bill was Embraer, which signed a European fleet launch customer for its Phenom 100 very light jet.
Then Cessna announced the sale of seven Citations to the Middle East with a combined value of more than $95 million.
The order frenzy was rounded off with Bombardier’s announcement of an Asian launch customer for the Challenger 605.
It is Swiss start-up JetBird that has ordered 50 Embraer Phenom 100 VLJs and optioned a further 50 aircraft. The $140 million contract allows JetBird to scale up to the Phenom 300 light jet. Should JetBird take this option, the contract would be worth $280 million. The Swiss company should take delivery of its first Phenom in 2009.
JetBird is developing Europe’s first low-cost, on-demand executive jet service, running initially from Zurich in 2009 and is planning to expand into other European cities. Mauricio Bothelo, Embraer’s president and chief executive, speaking at the show earlier today, said: “One year ago today we launched the Phenoms. We said at the time that Embraer had identified new opportunities in the business aviation segment and announced a portfolio expansion to respond to market needs. There is a significant potential for very light and light jets in Europe and we are glad to offer JetBird the Phenom as the right airplane at the right time.”
|Pulling a deal out of the bag…Domhal Slattery, chairman of Jetbird centre with Embraer’s Mauricio Bothelo and Luis Carlos Affonso|
Domhnal Slattery, founder and chairman of JetBird, said: “JetBird has chosen the Phenoms as they are superior to all other aircraft in their class in terms of space and comfort and designed to achieve high utilisation and efficient turnaround times. We are delighted to have Embraer as a key stakeholder in our business, given its exemplary track record of innovation in aircraft design and production.”
Wallan Aviation has ordered seven Cessna Citations for its Middle East customers. The order is made up of four Citation Sovereigns, two Citation XLS, and one Citation CJ3.
Capt Saad Wallan said the sales were directly due to Cessna’s strong presence at the Dubai air show.
Japanese operator Global Wings is the launch customer of the Challenger 605. The company already operates two Bombardier Learjet 45 XRs in Japan and China
Launched at NBAA in November 2005, the Challenger 605 carries five to 12 passengers depending on options and has a maximum range of 7,490km (4,050nm). Bombardier says its 2.49m (8ft)-wide cabin is the widest of any large-size business jet, with stand-up room of 1.85m. It first flew in January and Transport Canada certification is expected at end of the year.