With a characteristically nimble response to market demand, Emirates Airline hastily re-scheduled an announcement here yesterday of more than $30 billion worth of aircraft orders to accommodate the presence of Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
All jetliners might look alike to anyone who thinks that an airplane is an airplane is an airplane. And, yes, to the casual observer there is great similarity between Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s, and much in common between A330s and 777s. Even the mighty new A380, with its low, swept wings and four underslung engines, follows established trends apart from a full-length upper deck–and that also has been tried before.
The variety of types and average size of business and private aircraft is changing here in the Middle East, with new customers increasingly willing to fly in medium-sized jets that would have seemed out of the question in this market a few years ago.
In Boeing’s estimation, the Middle East will become the third largest market in the world for jumbo-sized airplanes over the next 20 years.
Gulfstream Aerospace's announcement yesterday of four new directors at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters hints at design elements for the widely expected G600, which is thought to be a composite-fuselage, long-range widebody business twinjet. Gulfstream has repeatedly denied such speculation, and a spokesman today maintained there officially is no G600 model, even though the company holds trademarks for this model name, the G625 and G675.
As the normal business jet evolves to fill ever smaller niches in the market, it’s no surprise to see more airliner-derived VIP jets offered to an ever wealthier clientele. Airbus happily announced it has reached the 100 mark in Airbus Corporate Jetliner sales and Boeing has tallied firm orders for 151 BBJs and VIP jets since launching the BBJ division 11 years ago. Some buyers just want the ultimate in airborne space
The scheduled airlines, after years of seeing business-class travelers lured away by business aviation operators, are fighting back.
CompletionAir, not even a year old and just beginning work on its first aircraft interiors, will expand dramatically with the upcoming merger with former rival Premier Air Center. The two companies, both at St. Louis Regional Airport in Alton, Ill., signed a letter of intent to merge last month. CompletionAir, launched in January, received its Part 145 repair facility certification in July and is focused on widebody completions.
Airbus Corporate Jetliner sales have surpassed the record set last year. The company has sold 25 aircraft in the first seven months of this year compared with 21 for the whole of last year. The orders consist of 20 Airbus Corporate Jetliners (ACJs) and five executive widebodies from the A330/A340 family, four of them A340s. The 2006 order tally included just one widebody aircraft.
Lufthansa Technik’s completion center has signed letters of commitment to complete two widebody Airbus A330-200s for undisclosed customers. The first is scheduled to arrive at the company’s Hamburg, Germany completion center early next year and the second around the end of 2009. The company (exhibiting at Booth No. 1327) is capable of completing VIP jets up to the size of an Airbus A380.