CJI Town Hall: Airbus boss – ‘Demand for range statistically does not exist’


So few flights, just 1.6% flown by ultra-long aircraft last year, travel over 5,500nm that the need for it does not exist for most business aviation users, according to Jean-Noel Robert, director of business development, Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ).

Robert was answering questions about the range of ACJ’s recently accounted TwoTwenty business aircraft following his presentation at this week’s Corporate Jet Investor Town Hall. The online meeting marked the cancelled NBAA-BACE event, which before Covid-19, was scheduled to take place this week.

The ACJ TwoTwenty has a range of 5,650nm, whereas a competitor like the Bombardier Global 7500 has a range of 7,700nm and the Gulfstream G700 a range of 7,500nm. However, Robert said analysis at ACJ indicated the extra range was used rarely over the course of 2019.

Robert said: “You’re not going to convince someone that needs the range, that’s for sure. But when you look at [our] statistics of the data , investigating all of the business aviation flights of 2019 … all the aircraft that are able to fly 5,500nm or more, actually only 1.6% of flights above 5,500nm. And if you look now above 6,000nm, that’s just 1%.”

ACJ recognises that some people – based in Australia for example –may require that extra range. “However, the large, large majority of people don’t use the range,” added Robert. The TwoTwenty still links city pairs such as London and Los Angeles, Moscow and Jakarta, Tokyo and Dubai or Beijing and Melbourne and therefore remains an intercontinental aircraft, noted Robert.

Robert summarised: the ACJ TwoTwenty is capable of completing 98.4% of ultra-long range flights. But, unlike any other business aircraft in its class, it offers much more space onboard. “So, it’s a tradeoff between the extra range, are you going to use it?, and the extra space and comfort onboard. It is an easy tradeoff, especially when you know you have a third less operating costs too.”

As well as hearing more about the ACJ TwoTwenty, the session featured presentations from NBAA President, Ed Bolen, and International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) executive director, Wayne Starling. You can rewatch the action and sign up for next week’s meeting here.