Following the success of its first Embraer Lineage, even before ETOPS approval that allows transatlantic flights, AirX has con-firmed two additional Lineage 1000E aircraft will be joining its fleet in the next few months.
The Lineage 1000E offers more cabin space of its main price range competitor, the Global Express/5000 series, and brokers are enjoying price matching the Lineage to high-end Global Express variants for flights under an eight-hour duration. The aircraft is a strong contender for brokers with a BBJ/ACJ passenger load request, but restrained by a more stringent budget.
“The popularity of the Lineage within the brokerage community has been overwhelming, for which I’m grateful,” says AirX chairman John Matthews. “We are executing a planned expansion at the moment with several Lineages arriving. We don’t have ETOPS approval yet, however as soon approval is given, we can start targeting the transatlantic market. We are now moving into true intercontinental jets with the Lineage expansion. Next on my list are ACJ/BBJs, plus a second A340 is in discussion and I hope to have that signed in a couple of weeks.
“The upcoming recession is going to hit the market hard. I believe the areas that are buoyant in the market are for the 15-plus passenger market, that is really interesting; below 14 passengers is saturated. We see Global Express rates falling each year, to the extent where we are watching brand new Global 6000s sell at close to a 12-year-old Challenger 850 rate. Logically, if you think about it that’s a $50-60 million aircraft and it doesn’t make much sense. It’s kicking the can down the road and each year the can gets heavier.”
He says that to expand, you can either raise debt and hope for market recovery, or buy distressed assets that have a niche, and AirX prefers to do the latter. “With the Lineage we can take a Global Express load and be really competitive while offering double the cabin and baggage, or we can take a ACJ/BBJ load and be 30-40 per cent cheaper than the BBJ price, so the Lineage has a really interesting elastic price advantage. If you look at the cabin, you are getting double the size.
“Say for example we shifted from the Lineage to a Global 6000 or a Falcon 7X, trying to get type ratings or parts and/or a qualified 7X engineer on a Friday afternoon AOG is pretty tough, but the Lineage is really an Embraer 190, so you have got the airliner overheads, and extensive support coverage which is fantastic for us. I call the Lineage a rich man’s Global or a poor man’s BBJ.
“I’d like to see the two Lineages come online within the next couple of months, I’d like to see the second A340 arrive, and get ready for Q1 2020 for further VIP airliner aircraft arriving. As the industry gets worse I aim to take market share,” he concludes.