Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2010 Contents AsianAviation | MAY 2010 27
With more and more VIP
aircraft customers entering
the market in Asia, it was
inevitable that entrepreneurs
would eventually look at
developing aircraft especially
for the region.
Now Hong Kong based investment rm Ritz
Paci c -- the launch customer for Project Phoenix s
CRJ 200 conversion - has developed the Asian
Business Jet (ABJ), with Texas-based outfitter
Comtran International performing the completions.
The companies are now converting the rst of
a series of 15 limited-edition McDonnell Douglas
MD-87s. At 85.5ft long, the cabin is 3-4ft longer than
a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), but a foot narrower at
10.1ft. Since the engines are mounted on the tail,
the aircraft o er a quieter cabin than airliners with
under-wing engine mountings.
Comtran has also added its custom blended
winglets and auxiliary fuel tanks, taking the aircraft s
range to 4,000nm. The rst of the modi ed jets will
go to an unidenti ed Chinese customer and the
plan is to sell 14 more over the next ve years.
The interior comes in two standard con gurations,
featuring touch-screen controls at each passenger
location, cockpit and external video cameras, WiFi
and satellite-phone headsets, a fax machine, mood
lighting and electric window shades. The jets are
also equipped with a thermal-acoustic cabin noise
reduction system. To cater for Asian preferences, the
galleys feature a rice cooker and wok, as well as a
hot tea maker.
The rst version includes a forward lounge for 11
passengers and two, at-panel bulkhead displays.
There are also fully berthing club arrangements and
a personal 10-inch monitor at each seat.
The galley is in the middle of the cabin, and can
cater for six passengers in the aft dining room. The
master bedroom contains a double bed, two-seat
sofa and a large, at-panel display. There is also
surround sound, a wardrobe and a bathroom
featuring a full stand-up shower, toilet, bidet and
sink. There is also seating for up to three ight
The second con guration accommodates nineteen
passengers, with a forward lounge seating nine, a
mid-cabin dining area, and an aft bar and lounge.
The bar comes with three barstools and a large, at-
panel cinema display.
Ja e designed the aircraft interior with no right
angles and natural wood veneers, o ering a more
"We used simple curves and compound
curvatures to create the feeling of space and ow
in the cabin," he said. Colours are cream and white
with dark wood nishes and a metal lm that
complements the colours of the wood.
Ritz Paci c Chief Executive O cer Les Merszei said
that the converted airliners have only used around a
quarter of their airframe life of 100,000 hours.
"The jet in the new con guration will never y as
often as it did as a highly-used airliner,"Merszei said.
"It will y maximum 1,000 hours per annum. That s
another 75 years of life."
The recession has not impacted the prices of
new widebodies, so a revamped aircraft o ers
a cost-e ective alternative to an ACJ or BBJ. Ritz
Paci c is o ering the aircraft only in partnership
with Jet Asia, which is developing a network of
maintenance, repair and overhaul providers for the
ABJ all over the region.
Merszei also owns OrientSKYs, which offers
charter services and is another potential source of
income. The rst owner "de nitely wants to charter
it out" according to Merszei. Charter revenue could
come in between US$8,000-11,000 per hour, with
direct operating costs of less than US$4,000. Jet
Asia has a local Air Operators Certi cate and would
oversee charter operations and manage the eet. ●
Asiaʼs own business jet
As demand for large executive jets increases in Asia, Hong-Kong based Ritz
Pacific has developed a cost-effective model specifically for the local market,
writes Liz Moscrop.
Another Asian company is making a foray into the European completions business. Hong Kong s
ASA Group, which o ers VVIP security and aircraft management services in the Asia Paci c and
Middle East regions, has allied with Canada s Renaissance International Holdings (RIH) to establish
a completions centre at Britain s Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster.
Simon Wagsta , chief executive o cer of ASA, said: "Now that we have moved into the aircraft
management area, we anticipate that we will be asked about aircraft completion management,
observation inspections and refurbishments by our clients. RIH is a highly specialised completions
service provider and like us has grown even through di cult times."
RIH has already established a maintenance facility at Robin Hood Airport for avionics
infrastructure work and is set to open a completions centre there in summer 2010.
"The alliance with ASA will bene t both companies customers," said Bryan Landry, RIH s
president. "When purchasing an aircraft, the initial de nition, the development and interior
design speci cations are critical elements in the success of the nal product. The reason people
were willing to y their aircraft to North America to have them painted, complete maintenance
tasks and rework interior cabin issues was because there were frequently no slots available in
Asia and Europe that could do all three components."
Asian firm adds completions to its portfolio
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