Monday, February 25, 2008
Singapore Watch: Eclipse, Cessna, ExecuJet
Eclipse Aviation announced during last week’s Singapore Airshow it sold 10 Eclipse 500 Jets to Club One Air of New Delhi, India to launch a new air charter company in India.
The purchase marks Eclipse Aviation's entry into the Indian business aviation market and expands the Eclipse 500's global reach and impact. Epic entered the Indian market when it gained new financing of $120 million from Kingfisher Airlines owner Dr. Vijay Mallya, who wants to manufacture that very light jet in India and market the Asian-produced aircraft to the Middle East and Asia. Related Story
Club Air One is India's largest non-scheduled air operator and first fractional aircraft ownership company. The new air charter company will use Eclipse 500s to expand its offering and provide more business travelers a quick, affordable, and convenient way to travel across India.
"The Eclipse 500's very low acquisition and operating costs, along with its comfortable cabin, make it the ideal aircraft for enhancing business travel in India," said Manav Singh, managing director of Club One Air. "We're confident, that with the plans we have for the Eclipse 500 in India, we will provide our clients with a fantastic experience and convenience of reaching their travel destinations at very affordable prices."
Eclipse noted the booming Asian experience. "Eclipse Aviation is experiencing a period of rapid international expansion, and this announcement illustrates the strong demand for the safety, quality and low operating costs of the Eclipse 500," said Mike McConnell, Eclipse's vice president of sales and marketing. "Establishing a presence for the Eclipse 500 in India through Club One Air will introduce more people to the benefits of owning and flying on private jet aircraft, which continues to be the goal of Eclipse Aviation."
Demand Increasing for Cessna's Aircraft in Asia-Pacific Region
Cessna Aircraft Company said at the Singapore Airshow the demand for its aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly diverse.
"Not only has demand expanded for Cessna's line of products in the Asia-Pacific region, that demand covers many countries and spans all models," said Roger Whyte, senior vice president of sales & marketing for Cessna. "Recently, we've made our first commercial business jet sales in South Korea and Vietnam, and we've delivered our first personally owned Citation business jet to an individual in China. We are seeing outstanding response to our newest products, the Cessna SkyCatcher, the Citation Mustang and the Citation Columbus. The combination of performance and value that Cessna products offer is translating into great order activity throughout the Asia-Pacific region but especially in Australia, China, India and Japan."
Cessna delivered 160 new aircraft into the Asia-Pacific region in 2007, an increase of more than 35 percent from 2006 deliveries.
ExecuJet Aviation Group Targets Global Presence
Zurich, Switzerland-based ExecuJet Aviation Group is hotly pursuing the establishment of more FBO (fixed based operations) and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facilities as it looks to expand its business aviation solutions in emerging markets in Asia.
ExecuJet Group Managing Director Gerrit Basson headed a team visiting Singapore which coincided with the opening of its first Asian base at the expanding business aviation airport Seletar, where ExecuJet has just acquired an aircraft hangar for wide-bodied business jets and is now expanding its capacity to provide comprehensive operational and maintenance support to several regional Gulfstream and Bombardier aircraft. The deal gives it an instant foothold in the region.
“Asia is the engine room for the world’s economic growth and the use of private and corporate aircraft is increasing in line with the expansion of regional and international businesses,” said Alastair Creighton-Jones, managing director of ExecuJet Australia, who is spearheading the Asian expansion. “To meet this demand, ExecuJet will continue to develop and enhance new operational and support capabilities in the region. There is a shortage of hangar facilities in Singapore to accommodate the growing number of business aircraft operating within the region.”
Seletar Airport is just 20km from Singapore City, has no operating curfew and has customs facilities between 8.00am and 9.00pm daily. Plans are now progressing to convert the former military airport into an aviation business park and center of excellence. In addition, it has ample aircraft parking facilities and a 1,632 meter runway, capable of supporting the operation of business aircraft flying both regional and long range routes.
ExecuJet’s Asian aspirations are endorsed by its new international investor Irish entrepreneur Dermot Desmond, who acquired a majority shareholding in the ExecuJet Aviation Group last May and became the company’s chair. The investment he has committed is enabling ExecuJet to increase the rate of expansion of its portfolio offerings into other key established and emerging markets. Globally, ExecuJet currently employs an expanding workforce of more than 750 industry skilled staff.
ExecuJet is a multi-faceted company, specialising in aircraft sales; aircraft charter – where it supports a 100-strong business jet fleet worldwide – aircraft management, for which it operates under six regional AOC’s; fixed based operations and MRO. In terms of the diversity of aviation solutions it offers and its geographical reach – in Europe, Southern Africa, the Middle East and Australasia - it is one of the industry’s leading players.
“We see great opportunities in India and China especially,” says Basson, who returns to India in March for a series of industry and media briefings with the Aerion Supersonic Business Jet. The SBJ, for which ExecuJet is the international sales distributor for all territories except the US, has already won an order from Pakistan. The Akbar Group, for its newly established private jet operator Princely Jets, committed to a Letter of Intent at the Dubai Air Show in November.
Meanwhile, ExecuJet has grown its Australasian operations in the past 12 months, with the opening of maintenance facilities in both Melbourne, Australia to complement the long standing Sydney heavy maintenance base and Auckland, New Zealand. ExecuJet’s Australasian MRO facility is the only regional authorized warranty repair facility for Bombardier and Gulfstream business jets and provide maintenance support for Boeing Business Jet aircraft in the region.