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Airbus looks to corporate jet business

Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, expects to keep corporate jet delivery at record levels in the coming years as it sees sustained demand in the Middle East. The company will deliver 16 corporate jets this year while adding new operators to its list of clients. "The corporate business is going well. We can say that we have become better than the competitor for sure, in terms of sales and also in terms of deliveries," Habib Fekih, Airbus Middle East president, said in Dubai on Monday. "We have been able to maintain our delivery at the expected level." Its popular models are the Airbus Corporate Jet liner (ACJ) A319 derived from the narrow-body A320, as well as the A318 Elite and A320 Prestige that saw over 110 units sold to date. Widebody aircraft such as the A340, A350 and A330 Prestige have accounted for about 60 buyers. Rizon Jet, a Doha-based private charter operator, will start operating the ACJ model as soon as it takes delivery early next year. Airbus' overall order backlog stood at 3,488 aircraft valued at $437.1 billion (Dh1.6 trillion) at the end of last year. It won 440 new orders in the January-November 30 period and has delivered 461 planes in that time frame."Many people had cancellations. We have to be vigilant. For the time being, we are hopeful," Fekih said.

Bright future

"If the situation stays like it is today, we are even confident that we'll have more orders in 2011 and 2012. If we get the orders we are expecting, we can sustain this level of deliveries in [the] coming five years," Fekih added.As the Middle East Business Aviation show begins today, Airbus is not expecting more new orders to come through, Fekih said.



Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter


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