Joined: 24 Dec 2006
|Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:25 am Post subject: Airbus sees robust demand for corporate jets
|By Ivan Gale
Dubai: The growing Middle East market for business jets makes up more than two-thirds of the worldwide demand for large corporate aircraft, according to an Airbus official.
Richard Gaona, vice president of executive and private aviation, said 70 per cent of the 40 large Airbus corporate jets it produced have gone to Middle East clients.
Additionally, more than a quarter of the 80 mid-sized corporate aircraft created by Airbus Corporate Jetliners since its inception in 1990 were for customers in the region.
Yesterday, the company announced that the Royal Air Force of Oman signed a contract for two A320s from the airbus corporate jetliner family, which sell for $65 million at list prices.
Also yesterday, it said an Airbus A340 has been purchased by a private Arab client, which come with a price tag of $180 million.
Gaona, in town to attend the Middle East Business Aviation conference, said buoyant economies in the GCC were proving a boon for producers of business aircraft.
Airbus produces several aircraft models for non-commercial use by corporations, governments and private individuals.
Even jumbo planes such as the A380 are being considered by private clients, Gaona said, noting there were two Middle East customers who were "very interested" in becoming the first private owners of the $285 million aircraft.
While losing out to Boeing in commercial aircraft orders for 2006, Airbus' corporate jets division ended up with the most new orders last year with 20, double its orderbook of just three years before.
By comparison, Boeing's business jets division received 14 orders last year, according to Airbus. This month, the European planemaker garnered six orders worth roughly $580 million at list prices, a swift start to the year and roughly a third of the total orders it received in the whole of 2006.