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AIRBUS BEGAN AIRLINE DELIVERIES OF

its A320 twinjet in 1988. Today, more than 5,000


are in service and another 2,000-plus have been
ordered. U.S. carriers flying the model include
Delta, US Airways, United and JetBlue. Odds are,
youve already been on one. Compared with the
original Boeing 737, which was designed in the
early 1960s, the A320 has a wider and taller cabin
and a slicker wing. It also features digital fly-by-wire
controls (see sidebar on next page).
The aircraftwhich has been available with an
executive interior since 2000has been improved
substantially over the years. The latest enhancements
include better cabin sound insulation and electron-
ics, LED lighting and a new-style winglet called a
Sharklet that boosts fuel economy and increases the
models already hefty useful load by 1,100 pounds.
Compared with the standard Airbus Corporate
Jet (ACJ), which is based on the smaller A319, the
executive version of the A320 (called the Prestige)
has a 12-foot-longer cabin and holds nearly seven
times as much luggage. It can do that because it
has a shorter rangeonly 4,300 nautical miles
compared with the ACJs 6,000 (four crew, eight
passengers). The ACJ gets all that range by stuffing
the baggage hold with auxiliary fuel tanks that the
A320 doesnt need.
An Airbus executive told me that you can buy a new
A320 Prestige with a full-up executive cabin for around
$85 million, only about $5 million more than youd
pay for an ACJ. Of course, most customers spend more
having completion centers build in their preferences.
Ironically, three of the leading completion centers
for the A320 are in the U.S.: Associated in Dallas,
Gore Design Completion in San Antonio and Com-
lux in Indianapolis. I say ironically because, at pres-
ent, no A320 Prestige airplanes are based in the U.S.;
most of its customers are in the Middle East and Asia.
AIRBUS A320
The skys the limit when it comes to completing the cabin.
by Mark Huber
BECAUSE THE A320 IS BASED ON A
MATURE AIRLINER, PILOTS, PARTS
AND MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS
FOR IT ARE PLENTIFUL.
Reprinted with the permission of BUSINESS JET TRAVELER 2012.
From June/July 2012 issue.
USED JET REVIEW
AT FIRST BLUSH, THIS SEEMS A LITTLE
mystifying. The A320 is a fine airplane that has stood
the test of time. However, many American customers
for so-called bizliners opt for executive 737s, called
Boeing Business Jets (BBJs), for nonstop travel from
the continental U.S. to Asia. With the A320, you have
to land for fuel along the way. That has not kept the
A320 from being popular with foreign heads of state,
however. Gore has done several of these types of A320
completions and has two more in the hangar.
Typically, the completion process starts six months
before the aircraft arrives, with floor plan and materi-
als selection and related engineering. Once the A320
is in the hangar, it can take another 12 months to fin-
ish. With more than 1,030 square feet of cabin floor
space, the potential for wretched excess with this air-
plane is, well, excessive: you can order stand-up show-
ers, gourmet galleys, private offices, theater rooms and
just about anything else you care to install.
Comlux recently finished an A320 for a Middle
Eastern customer who plans to charter it out when
not using it himself. The 19-passenger design features
a VIP lounge with an L-shaped divan and two single
seats arrayed in a club two and a large dining table
for six guests. In the middle of the cabin, a private
day lounge includes a divan that converts to a large
double bed and a private bathroom with shower. In
the rear cabin, a large business-class seating area is
suitable for an entourage. Color selection was made
for the Middle East charter market: beige and blue
represent sand and sea (see picture below). The cabin
incorporates the latest technologies, such as GSM,
touch-screens, mood lighting, Wi-Fi Internet access
and iPod/iPhone stands.
Other Airbus-authorized A320 completion centers
in addition to the companys own facility in France
include Taeco (China), Stork-Fokker (Netherlands),
Lufthansa Technik (Hamburg) and Amac and Jet
Aviation (Switzerland).
Comlux strives to give its completions a Euro-
pean flair, said David Edinger, who runs the com-
panys Indianapolis center. Little touches in the last
THE A320S DIGITAL ARCHITECTURE
The digital architecture incorporated into the A320 is
substantially different from what you will find on the BBJ
or older out-of-production aircraft from British Aerospace,
McDonnell-Douglas or other companies. Fly-by-wire (FBW)
replaces certain mechanical systems, coupling electronic
flight controls with digital computers. Pilots make control
inputs through sidesticks, other cockpit controls or the
autopilot. These inputs are then instantly calibrated through
a series of control laws and transmitted to servos that
power the aircrafts control systems and surfaces that make
it turn, climb and descend. FBW has been on jet fighters since
the 1960s and recently has found its way into business jets,
including the new Falcon 7X, Gulfstream G650 and Embraer
Legacy 500. Its almost impossible to have a bad landing in an
A320 because the flight computers wont allow it. M.H.
(2002 Airbus ACJ320)
HOURLY DIRECT OPERATING COSTS
Fuel ($6.67 per gal): $5,562.78
Maintenance labor (at $93 per hour): $646.73
Parts, airframe, engine, avionics: $276.35
Inspections, component overhauls,
life limited parts: $603.70
Engine restoration: $596.12
APU overhaul: $80.00
Misc. expenses
Landing and parking fees: $174.23
Crew expenses: $268.65
Supplies & catering: $141.75
TOTAL VARIABLE FLIGHT COSTS PER HOUR: $8,350.31
Average speed: 400 knots
Cost per nautical mile: $20.88
ANNUAL FIXED OPERATING COSTS
Crew salaries (estimates)
Captain: $159,000
Copilot: $95,000
Cabin attendant: $89,000
Benefits: $102,900
Hangar rental (typical): $181,200
Insurance (insured hull value = $45 million)
Hull (2% of value): $90,000
Single limit liability: $16,500
Recurrent crew training: $89,800
Aircraft modernization (avg per year): $33,333
Navigational chart service: $17,802
Refurbishing: $185,535
Computer maintenance program: $12,000
Aviation weather service (typical): $700
TOTAL FIXED COST PER YEAR: $994,470
ANNUAL BUDGETBASED ON 175,000 NM
(Utilization: 438 hours)
Variable cost: $3,657,436
Fixed cost: $994,470
TOTAL FIXED COST (WITHOUT DEPRECIATION): $4,651,906
Per hour: $10,621
Per nautical mile: $26.58
Per seat nautical mile: $3.80
Total cost (without depreciation): $4,651,9065
Book depreciation (10% per year): $4,500,000
TOTAL COST (WITH BOOK DEPRECIATION): $9,151,906
Per hour: $20,895
Per nautical mile: $52.30
Per seat nautical mile: $7.47
Total cost (without depreciation): $4,651,906
Market depreciation: $1,800,000
TOTAL COST (WITH MARKET DEPRECIATION): $6,451,906
Per hour: $14,730
Per nautical mile: $36.87
Per nautical seat mile: $5.27
economics
Comlux recently finished this A320 for a Middle Eastern customer. The beige-and-blue color scheme represents sand and sea.
Reprinted with the permission of BUSINESS JET TRAVELER 2012.
From June/July 2012 issue.
used jet review
(2002 Airbus ACJ320)
CABIN DIMENSIONS
Height: 7.3 ft
Width: 12.2 ft
Length: 90.23 ft
Volume: 6,825 cu ft
Door height: 6.08 ft
Door width: 2.67 ft
BAGGAGE:
Internal: 128 cu ft
TYPICAL SEATS CREW/PASSENGERS:
3/19
MAXIMUM WEIGHTS
Takeoff: 169,785 lb
Basic operating: 97,653 lb
Usable fuel: 52,830 lb
Maximum payload: 40,136 lb
Payload with full fuel: 20,117 lb
specifications
(2002 Airbus ACJ320)
RANGE (IFR NBAA 200nm reserve)
Seats full: 4,950 nm
Ferry range: 5,250 nm
CRUISE SPEED
Max: 486 kt
Long range: 445 kt
SERVICE CEILING
Both engines: 39,800 ft
One engine: 22,000 ft
Source: Conklin & de Decker, Orleans, Mass.
performance
A320 it completed included wood grain with a satin
finish (as opposed to the usual glossy), unique seat
armrests and a formal entryway. Edinger sees more
single-aisle work, including A320s, coming his com-
panys way and opened an integrated completion
hangar in May.
WHILE WHAT YOU CAN DO TO THE
inside of an A320 cabin is nearly limitless, you do
have limits as to where you can take it: this is a
big boy. Not all airport ramps can accommodate
it nor are all runways long enough. An A320 at
maximum takeoff weight tips the scales at 169,800
pounds and needs 6,640 feet of runway to get
airborne with a full load and nearly 5,000 feet to
stop. Certain U.S. airports (such as those in Sun
Valley, Idaho, and Teterboro, N.J.) continue to
ban private aircraft that weigh more than 100,000
pounds. Thats the bad news.
The good news is that because the A320 is based
on a mature airliner, pilots, parts and maintenance
technicians for it are plentiful and certain main-
tenance practices are simpler and more economi-
cal than on a typical business jet. Most business
jets require that certain parts and major assemblies
be inspected and/or replaced at fixed intervals,
which are usually defined in terms of flight hours,
flight cycles (one takeoff and one landing) or time
(months or years). With airliners, more of these
parts need not be replaced unless they are wearing
or worn out. This type of maintenance is called
on condition and a fair amount of it can be done
on the A320. Such work is almost essential on an
airplane as large as the A320 as most operators do
not have backup aircraft.
But if your A320 break downs, you can still get a
great meal, a comfortable nights sleep and a hot shower
in the morning without getting off the airplane. n
Mark Huber welcomes comments and suggestions at
mhuber@bjtonline.com.
AIRBUS ACJ320 COMPARED WITH OTHER AIRCRAFT
Model
First year
produced
Variable
cost/hour
Seats
exec/max
Range
(nm)
Normal
cruise (kt)
Max takeoff
weight (lb)
Airbus ACJ320 1989 $8,350 19/180 5,250 470 169,785
BBJ 1998 $7,776 19/149 6,230 470 171,000
Lineage 1000 2008 $5,811 19/114 4,572 470 120,152
Assumptions: Airbus and BBJ are 2002 models. Lineage is 2008 model (first year produced). Jet fuel $6.67gal; variable cost: fuel plus maintenance reserves;
four passengers; NBAA IFR 200 nm reserve fuel; passenger weight 200 lb includes baggage; two pilots, one cabin attendant.
Cost source: Conklin & de Decker Life Cycle Cost
Performance source: Conklin & de Decker Aircraft Performance Comparator, Orleans, Mass.
YOU CAN ORDER PRIVATE OFFICES,
THEATER ROOMS AND JUST
ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE YOU
CARE TO INSTALL.
D
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Reprinted with the permission of BUSINESS JET TRAVELER 2012.
From June/July 2012 issue.