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NBAA 09: Airbus sells two more A340-500s to Middle East head of state

Airbus (booth 4776) has sold two VIP A340-500s to a Middle East head of state and awarded the cabin completions contract to Gore Design Completions (booth 2944) on behalf of the customer.

The first of the new-build long-range widebodies will be handed over to San Antonio, Texas-based GDC in the second half of 2010, followed by the second in early 2011. The completions are expected to take around 18 months.

GDC chief executive Jerry Gore says the market for VIP widebodies remains buoyant despite the global economic downturn.

"The market is better than I've seen in 25 years," says Gore.

A340 VIP interior 

GDC has selected B/E Aerospace to provide seating for the A340-500s, including VIP single seats, majlis divans, executive pods and guest seating. Custom Control Concepts will provide cabin management and entertainment systems for the two aircraft.

Under separate contracts, GDC is preparing to hand over another VIP A340-500 to a Middle East customer next month, and will begin work on an A340-200 later this year.

The company has previously won contracts to complete a Boeing 777 and six 767s, as well as a 757, an A320 and several 737s.

Gore says he does not expect to bid for any A380 completions, given the limited number of sales opportunities and the fact that each project is likely to require "one million man hours" to complete.

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced its intention to award Organization Designation Authorization to GDC, which will enable the company to issue FAA certification approvals.

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