ABS Jets is here at the ABACE show extolling the virtues of Asian operators using Prague as a “one-stop-shop” for their visits to Europe. “The Chinese market is developing fast and is generally seen as growing to become the key region for future growth, ultimately becoming of massive importance to business jet operators,” said Antonia Tomkova, the company’s commercial director.
Just over three years ago, Hawker Beechcraft began delivering what is arguably the best of the venerable 125-series aircraft: the Hawker 750. Performance and price both help to make this midsize-cabin model a strong contender.
Bombardier announced yesterday that the 400th Learjet 60 entered service this week. The milestone aircraft, a Learjet 60XR, was delivered to Morelia, Mexico-based Cinépolis on Monday. “We are delighted to mark this event with Cinépolis, a Learjet customer since 2002,” said Bombardier Business Aircraft Latin America sales vice president Fabio Rebello. Cinépolis operates 265 cinemas with 2,690 screens in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and India.
Wichita’s future as an aircraft manufacturing hub has appeared less than rosy of late, but the outlook took a turn for the better with news today that Bombardier plans further expansion of its Learjet facilities there. This morning, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Bombardier Business Aircraft president Steve Ridolfi announced the expansion of the company’s flight-test center in Wichita, in addition to establishing a center of excellence for engineering and information technology, adding new facilities for paint and production flight-testing and building a new aircraft delivery center in the self-appointed Air Capital of the World.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) recently approved two Raisbeck Engineering King Air performance systems–the dual aft body strakes and the Crown wing lockers. First applications of the modifications in China are on a King Air 350, the Seattle-based company said. Other applications for Raisbeck mods–including current and upcoming performance systems on the Learjet 31/35/36/60 and all other King Air models–are currently working their way through the CAAC, according to Raisbeck.
The FAA has issued an NPRM for an Airworthiness Directive targeting the Learjet 60 fire extinguishing system. It is prompted by two incidents of swapped fire-extinguishing wires and would require inspecting the electrical leads routed to the fire-extinguishing containers for proper identification and missing labels; to ensure the electrical leads are connected to the correct squibs; and corrective actions if necessary.
Raisbeck Engineering is enjoying surging interest in Learjet and King Air performance modifications that continues to outpace the sluggish economy. “In the first six months of 2011, we sold 245 systems, which were installed on 123 different aircraft,” said James Raisbeck, founder and chairman of the Seattle-based company.
Bombardier Aerospace announced today at the NBAA Convention that it completed critical design of its all-composite Learjet 85, allowing production of the light jet to begin. Development and production teams in Wichita; Montreal; Belfast, Northern Ireland; and Querétaro, Mexico, are now “actively engaged” in the manufacturing validation phase, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer said.
The first six months of the year proved disheartening for those who hoped for an uptick in aircraft deliveries. According to first-half numbers provided by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), total industry billings were down 22.3 percent compared with the first half of last year, to $7.3 billion, from $9.4 billion, while total shipments were off 15.5 percent in that span.
Flexjet, Bombardier’s Texas-based fractional ownership program, launched a Learjet 85 program yesterday. In an interview with AIN today, Flexjet president Fred Reid said the company will take seven aircraft initially, and eventually “a couple of dozen,” with deliveries beginning in the fourth quarter of 2013. He noted that Flexjet’s Learjet 85 prices will be 5 percent below those of the Cessna Sovereign in fractional service.