First deliveries of the light twinjet Safire Personal Jet will take place in early 2006, according to manufacturer Safire Aircraft, which claims to have orders for more than 700 aircraft. First metal was cut last week on the six-seat aircraft, which is a redesigned, resized version of the S-26.

Giving a programme update at the beginning of June, president and CEO Camilo Salomon said the Miami, Florida-based company holds orders worth almost $1 billion. To meet demand, which it believes will see peak production reach 500 aircraft per annum by 2009, Safire is building a new 500,000sq ft (46,450sq m) $35 million aircraft assembly plant. Salomon claims this will produce some 1,000 new jobs in South Florida.

The $1.4m aircraft is billed as a new generation of turbofan-powered aircraft which Safire says will offer unprecedented economies in acquisition and operating costs.


Salomon says the company's design philosophy has been to incorporate the most advanced, but proven, technologies to ensure a low risk programme and on-time deliveries, at a cost comparable to higher priced piston twins and turboprop aircraft.

"These features will allow us to offer the Safire Jet at acquisition and operational costs never before seen in the industry," he says. "This will enable our customers to buy and operate these aircraft at costs normally associated with piston twins and turboprop airplanes," he said.

The aircraft will carry six people - five passengers and a pilot - and will include a private lavatory. It will travel at speeds of up to 380 knots (437mph) and at altitudes up to 41,000 feet, above the weather. It will have a maximum range of 1,300 nautical miles (2,405km) and will be able to operate at airports with runways as short as 2,500ft (762m).

Salomon claims this new generation of low costs jets will completely change the dynamics of future air travel. "It will open more than 5,000 small airports to air travellers, providing point-to-point service on demand - an airborne taxi service, if you will. It will spread the flying population over greater areas and more airports, helping alleviate congestion and delays at major hubs. And because of the aircraft's low cost of acquisition and operation, air fares will be comparable to economy class airline seats."

Source: Flight Daily News