A Boeing 747-200 in 106-seat executive configuration is being sold for commercial charter through international aircraft charter broker Air Partner. The aircraft is believed to be the first of its kind to become available on the commercial charter market and confirms the increasing demand for large cabin business aircraft worldwide from the high end premium travel market.
The aircraft was introduced in October by Air Atlanta Icelandic, operating from its Manston, UK-base. The carrier operated a 747SP on corporate charters in 1998. The 747-200 fills a niche left by Concorde's popular charter business. Air Partner business development manager, David Macdonald says: "There seemed to be no alternative available on the market since Concorde [was grounded in August]. We saw the need that existed, located an aircraft and put the solution together." The aircraft offers "first class seating" with 68in (1.7m) seat pitch, and a range of 11,000km (6,000nm).
London Gatwick-based Air Partner, one of the largest international brokers, with five offices worldwide, anticipates strong demand for the 747-200 from markets including luxury holidays, world tours (sports team and musicians), corporate shuttles and heads of state transportation.
Macdonald adds: "The demand for large cabin aircraft, [including the Bombardier Challenger 604, Dassault Falcon 900 and the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)], is high. As new larger cabin products are introduced, such as the Boeing 757 and now the 747, the availability will also be matched."
Air Partner's UK office alone recorded a 63% increase in demand for large cabin aircraft last year and expects this trend to continue.
The airliner size commercial business jet fleet in Europe alone consists of six aircraft - including three BBJs and a Boeing 757 operated by Switzerland's PrivatAir and an A319CJ operated by Luton Airport-based Twinjet Aircraft.
Twinjet is hoping to add another airliner-configured business jet to its commercial fleet within the next 24 months.
Athens, Greece-based luxury services provider SAPO recently ordered two A319CJs which, following delivery in the second and fourth quarter of next year, will be deployed by the company's private charter airline. Qatar Airways became the first commercial scheduled airline, in October, to acquire an airliner-configured business jet, following an order and an option for the A319CJ.
Source: Flight International