Tuesday, 22 May 2018 08:47 GMT
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Airbus targets Mideast for large corporate jets



(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) In a new initiative, Airbus is spearheading a move to market between five to 10 large corporate jets a year in the Middle East — the majority of them in Saudi Arabia. With the region's older Lockheed 1011, DC-10 and 707 refurbished 'corporate 'jets now well beyond their dotage, the market in Saudi itself could be around 20 to 25 new and dedicated 'offices in the sky' needed immediately in the form of the Airbus Corporate Jet based on the A319, a member of the now legendary A320 family of aircraft. Rising exponentially, this figure could touch 150 aircraft over eight years accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the potential market. The UAE comes a close second with a projection of over 20 per cent of the potential in this time span. Like the rest of the world, the Middle East market is driven by economic growth and, with oil-based economies in the region continuing to prosper, prospects for growth in the region remain bright. Although fractional ownership programmes in which aircraft of different sizes can be shared on a time roster have not rooted themselves the Airbus intent is purposeful. Its only contender is the Boeing Business Jet which has made several forays into the region with its basic 737-700 frame and the 20 feet longer BBJ 2. Airbus' ACJ Family was launched in 1997 with the ACJ, which typically accommodates 19 to 50 passengers. This version is in extensive use worldwide today, operating in VIP, corporate shuttle and government service roles. Airbus' longer-fuselage A320 Prestige is ostensibly intended to take on the BBJ 2 and the newest ACJ Family member is the A318 Elite, which offers greater levels of cabin comfort than currently available with competing business jets. The Middle East is the world's largest market for large corporate jets — aircraft with seating 15 or more passengers — with private customers and governments currently operating around 200 of them in various size categories. "We already have a strong presence in the Middle East, where more than 80 Airbus corporate jets are already on order and in service, and our young and growing aircraft family means that we are well placed to grow further," says Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy. "We have the comfort you want in the size that you need, and are well placed to provide you with the means for a new travel style to which you will want to become accustomed," says John Leahy. Airbus has been in the corporate jet market since the mid-1980s, when it first sold VIP versions of widebody aircraft to a Middle East customer. The Airbus' corporate jet family now comprises the A318 Elite, the ACJ319 and A320 Prestige plus the widebody A330, A340, A350 and A380 Prestige options. By Muzaffar Rizvi


Airbus targets Mideast for large corporate jets

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