By Rebecca Rayko, AWN Editor
Airbus Industrie provided a current customer count for its Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) at NBAA.
The A319 derivative business jet now has 18 customer orders, which is "where we wanted to be when we launched it" said Paul Mason, vice president, commercial operations.
The ACJ program would like to see an increase in A319 production allocation due to expected demand for the business jet, which Mason says would max at about 12 a year.
This number is in line with the Airbus goal of 50% marketshare, which it holds in the commercial arena as well. Mason says the worldwide demand for the "heavy" business jet, which includes rival Boeing Business Jet, is 24 aircraft per year.
Mason says Airbus does not envision the launch of a plus-sized ACJ similar to the BBJ 2 launched at NBAA last week.
"The ACJ satisfies the market now," Mason says. "A major selling point of the ACJ is that it is an A319. The BBJ is not a standard product. We actually get credit from our buyers for this reason, because of the potential residual value of the ACJ."
The ACJ is also certified as a transport category aircraft, Mason says. All that would be needed would be to remove the extra fuel tanks and reconfigure the interior before the ACJ can be sold to an airliner for service. The option to remarket the aircraft at a later date is a huge selling advantage for the ACJ, Mason says.
Although ACJ customers typically do not disclose their identities, two that Airbus could reveal are DaimlerChrysler and the department store Harrod's.