BAN's World GazetteerGermany
German operator FAI rent-a-jet has added a new flagship aircraft to its fleet, in the form of an Airbus ACJ319. The jet will be the largest corporate aircraft the company has flown to date, and will be available for ad hoc charter in the second quarter of 2018 following an extensive cabin refurbishment.
With 29 VIP seats, the ACJ is equipped with five additional fuel tanks, enabling a range of more than 5,000 nm or 11 hours. The 2001-built aircraft will feature a bathroom with shower and includes the latest communications and in-flight entertainment technology, incorpor-ating high speed connectivity and wireless iPad controls. It offers almost twice the cabin size of a traditional business jet, and will be marketed by FAI to the 19-seat plus, large cabin user market. It is anticipated that it will be maintained by the company's MRO subsidiary FAI Technik.
“While there is plenty of supply in the charter market for up to 19 passengers, we have something very unique in this class with our 29-seat layout,” comments chairman Siegfried Axtmann. “The ACJ will be excellent for corporate shuttles, groups, music and sports tours, and conferences, where we can fully brand the aircraft. It only became available recently, and was previously under bank ownership. We are delighted to move into a new market.”
The ACJ will join an existing fleet of 24 aircraft based at FAI's headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, comprising four Global Express, six Challenger 604, 11 Learjet 60, one Learjet 55, one Premier 1A and a King Air 350.
Renovation work commences this month, and Axtmann anticipates a lot of high-end interest once the work is complete: “We see a lot of VVIP charter potential from heads of state, especially on the African continent, because there are not as many government-owned flight depart-ments as we have in Europe or the Middle East.
“The aircraft is also a good solution as a temporary replacement for ACJ and BBJ owners who still have their aircraft on the production line or down for major maintenance or modifications. We can be very flexible and put the aircraft into any kind of charter work.
“We have been operating the Global Express successfully in charter for many years now but we felt that there is room above this type, especially when it comes to cabin size and the number of seats available for larger delegations. We are looking into worldwide charter work, the same as we do with our Globals. In Europe I think it will perform ad hoc charter for larger groups not fitting into the standard 19-pax aircraft.”
He is happy with the results of the first three quarters of this year, and notes that the MRO side of the business has picked up too. He expects the ACJ to enter service in late March or early April next year. “We are now starting the design phase. We have reserved the first quarter for refurbishment work and upgrading the cabin entertainment system. So by the middle of next year we will be in a better position to see how it is performing.”