EBACE Show Report 2011
The 11th annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) was help in Geneva, Switzerland, on 17-19 May. The industry’s recovery from the slump of the last two years was reflected in a bigger, better attended show, as demand for new aircraft grows once again, writes Andrzej Jeziorski.
Airbus revamps corporate jets with new livery, names
Airbus says it has introduced new branding, colours and names for its corporate jet range, to reflect “aircraft improvements, the company’s culture of innovation and family commonality”.
The new colours comprise metallic-blue shading on most of the fuselage and tail, highlighted by flowing curves that the company says echo colour schemes that are often chosen by Airbus Corporate Jet customers. The new colour scheme is accompanied by a redesigned Airbus Corporate Jets logo.
As part of this new branding, the company says it has renamed its corporate jet range for increased consistency. Thus, the corporate jet version of the A318 will now be known as the Airbus ACJ318, and so on, all the way up to the largest corporate jet in the range, the ACJ380.
“Airbus has always been an innovator … and we wanted to reflect this in our corporate jet family by introducing new branding, colours and names that provide a fresher and more modern look,” says John Leahy, the manufacturer’s chief operating officer for customers.
Airbus adds that its aircraft-family concept allows innovations introduced on one model to pave the way for their implementation on others, “allowing the widest possible spread of customer benefits”. The company says its corporate jets are the largest and most modern corporate jet family in the world, capable of flying from 19 to more than 100 passengers on intercontinental routes.
The cabins of the modified airliners are big enough to allow customers the same comfort and space that they enjoy at home or in the office, as well as unique features that differentiate them from their airliner counterparts. The Airbus ACJ318, ACJ319 and ACJ320 feature: a reinforced structure and additional centre fuel tanks for greater range; built-in stairs to reduce reliance on airport ground services; and high-thrust engines for improved take-off performance.
Airbus corporate jets have won more than 170 sales to date, and are flying on every continent, including Antarctica.[Headline:] Lufthansa Technik signs Boeing 747-8 completion contractLufthansa Technik has signed its first completion contract for a VIP Boeing 747-8 with an undisclosed customer. The work will begin in 2012.Additionally, the maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider has signed three Letters of Commitment for the same type of aircraft so far.“Interest in highly individualized completions of large aircraft at the top level of quality continues to be high,” says Walter Heerdt, the company’s senior vice-president marketing and sales.“We are currently preparing our organization and service portfolio for the arrival of the first Lufthansa 747-8 in 2012,” he says. “Thus, we will also be able to support our VIP customers with comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul services over the complete life cycle of the aircraft, through our dedicated VIP aircraft maintenance organization.”Lufthansa Technik says it has signed contracts or is in final talks on the completion of a “considerable number” of twin-aisle and more than ten single-aisle aircraft. “This means a high workload for its completion centers and only a few remaining layover slots to offer over the next two years,” the company says.Lufthansa Technik’s VIP & Executive Jet Solutions Division consists of five business units at four locations: the head office and completion center in Hamburg; Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services in Berlin; the US-subsidiary BizJet International in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Lufthansa Technik Switzerland in Basel. The total workforce is around 2,000 employees.
CESSNA AIRCRAFT says its new Citation Ten long-range business jet is scheduled to make its first flight by the end of this year, with first deliveries planned for the second half of 2013. The Ten is a mid-size aircraft that carries up to nine passengers and two pilots, and will fly higher, faster and further than the existing Citation X, the world’s fastest certified business jet. First announced at the 2010 National Business Aviation Association convention in 2010, the aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 3007C2 engines, offers a maximum take-off weight of 16,601kg (36,600lb) and flies at a maximum cruise speed of 527 knots, with a certified ceiling of 51,000ft. The Ten has a maximum range of 6,010km (3,245 nautical miles), allowing it to fly non-stop between city pairs such as New York-London, Boston-San Francisco, London-Dubai and Miami-Seattle within convenient one-hop flights.
Learjet 85 clears detail design phase
Bombardier Aerospace says its Learjet 85 development programme has emerged from the detail design phase and moved into the build, test and validation phase as it moves towards entry into service in 2013.
“The Learjet 85 aircraft program has entered a new phase and is progressing towards entry-into-service with great strength,” says Ralph Acs, Bombardier’s vice-president for the programme. “The synergies achieved by working with people from across our Bombardier Aerospace sites have proven extremely successful in the advancement of the programme.”
In April 2011, the company’s Integrated Product Development Team (IPDT) completed the aircraft-level critical design review, a major development milestone.
Bombardier says the programme’s supplier base “is fully engaged in the preparation and commissioning of systems test rigs, enabling the various suppliers to exercise their respective systems, identify and implement corrective action prior to supplying parts to the final assembly line in Wichita”. Methods and logistics teams are now coordinating production tooling, as well as sourcing and expediting parts to be shipped to the company’s Mexico Manufacturing Centre in Queretaro.
In Montreal, the IPDT is focused on completing final production drawings for the test aircraft, while, in Wichita, the construction of the final assembly line building, the first of four phases of the expansion of the site, has begun.
The company’s team in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has successfully manufactured the first production wing spars using innovative Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) technology, and wing skins are also currently in production. Both the spars and skins will be shipped to Queretaro for final wing assembly.
Production of parts has begun at Queretaro, and the production of the majority of composite parts for the first aircraft is underway. There are now 1,300 employees working on the programme at Bombardier’s sites in Belfast, Mexico, Montréal and Wichita.
Launched in October 2007 as a clean-sheet design, the Learjet 85 aircraft is positioned between the mid-size Learjet 60 XR and the super midsize Challenger 300 jets.
Comlux orders three Legacy 650s
Comlux The Aviation Group has signed a contract for the acquisition of three Embraer Legacy 650 executive jets for the company’s Fly Comlux Division in Kazakhstan, the Brazilian manufacturer announced at the show.
The agreement includes options for another four aircraft. The deal is valued at US$90.7 million at list prices, and could reach up to US$211.7 million, if all options are converted into firm orders. The first delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011. “This is … a strong endorsement of our new long-range, large cabin Legacy 650 executive jet,,” said Colin Steven, Embraer’s vice-president of marketing and sales for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The aircraft will be available for charter, offering Comlux passengers a new product for their travel needs.
The Legacy 650 is a derivative of the Legacy 600 super midsize, nearly 200 of which have been delivered to customers worldwide. According to Embraer, it will enable Comlux to fly up to 13 passengers in comfort, with three distinct cabin zones and a spacious galley, as well as the largest in-flight accessible baggage compartment of its category. The aircraft offers a maximum range of 3,900 nautical miles (7,223km). The two companies also agreed to cooperate in opening a service centre for the Legacy 650 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to support the Central Asia market.
The Legacy 650 extended-range aircraft is one of the largest executive jets able to operate in restricted airports such as London City or Cannes-Mandelieu, Embraer says.
The aircraft features the new Honeywell Primus Elite avionics suite, designed to reduce crew workload and optimize the aircraft’s flight profile. Equipped with FANS/CPDLC (Future Air Navigation System – Controller Pilot Datalink Communication), the manufacturer says the flight deck conforms to “the latest technologies for improved situational awareness, while ensuring outstanding operational flexibility in congested airspace, terrain-challenged airports and adverse weather conditions”.
HAWKER BEECHCRAFT Global Customer Support (GCS) announced at the show that its Hawker 800XPR upgrade is progressing towards certification this summer with the installation of new Honeywell TFE731-50R engines. With the new engines installed, power-on ground runs have begun on the aircraft prior to the start of flight testing. GCS expects to achieve US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification in June, followed by European certification in July. “We have received significant operator interest in this upgrade programme, due to the economics of this upgrade package and the fact that it is based on proven technology that is currently flying in the Hawker 900XP,” says Christi Tannahill, Hawker Beechcraft’s vice-president for GSC. “This, in combination with on-schedule flight testing, is making for very positive momentum on this programme.”