Korean Air Lines is considering expanding its service on existing routes to China and Japan with 70- to 120-seat regional jets in two years. “We may inject the planes into routes operated by our budget carrier unit Jin Air as well,” said KAL chairman Cho Yang-Ho. KAL does not currently operate any regional jets; its smallest aircraft are 737-800s operated by its low-cost Jin Air division.
Bizliner Aviation has been formed to specialize in client and vendor support for owners and operators of bizliners, namely Boeing and Airbus single-aisle and widebodies, as well as others such as the Embraer Lineage. Currently there are more than 200 bizliners in service worldwide, with existing orders for more than 60 new aircraft, according to Bizliner Aviation’s director of aviation, Rodney Cook.
Brazil’s Embraer has given itself until the middle of this year to reach an agreement with its Chinese partners on adapting its assembly line in Harbin to produce 70- to 110-seat E-Jets.
Thus far, the bizliner completions sector has remained comparatively solid despite the effects of the recession on the rest of the industry. That relative immunity was most recently underscored by the partnership of London-based Andrew Winch Designs and Jet Aviation of Basel, Switzerland, which delivered a highly customized Boeing Business Jet for a private client.
Notwithstanding the continued gloomy financial projections for the air transport industry by groups such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airbus predicts the size of the world’s airliner fleet will more than double over the next 20 years, from around 14,000 now to 28,100 in 2028, according to European manufacturer’s new Global Market Forecast published in London on September 17.
U.S. aerospace consultancy Teal Group has forecast demand for 2,909 regional aircraft worth $65.9 billion over the next 10 years. The projection includes 1,732 regional jets worth $46.9 billion and 1,177 turboprops worth $19 billion (2009 dollars).
Embraer continues to consider its product strategy. The Brazilian airframer’s market intelligence vice president Luiz Sergio Chiessi told AIN that any design for 100-plus passengers “almost certainly” would require a new, wider cross section than its current E170/ E190 large regional jets: “Up to 150 passengers in four-abreast [layout] is probably not workable,” he said.
Dubai-based Project Phoenix planned to deliver its first executive-configured CRJ conversion to owner Ritz Pacific by the end of last month. Completion of the modified regional jet was contracted to Peterborough, Ontario-based Flying Colours, which also has produced its own ExecLiner and Jetcorp Renaissance Series CRJ executive conversions.
Is the bizliner immune to the current economic and financial crisis, or have slumping demand and order cancellations simply not yet caught up with that segment of the industry? Some among the narrow- and wide-body manufacturers say that executive segment of the industry remains relatively healthy and take a somewhat optimistic stance.
Superjet International today announced the official opening of its new North American sales and customer support office in Washington, D.C. Former ATR North America executive John Buckley has joined Superjet International to run the new office. Buckley assumes the title of vice president for business development, while Patrick Sullivan takes the role of head of customer service for the Americas.