The Italian Aerospace Information Web
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Airbus ACJ with a snake

The fin of the former Eurofly’s Airbus ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jet) now sports a stylized snake, the unmistakable logo of Alba Servizi Aerotrasporti, the personal airline of Silvio Berlusconi. May be the company’s Gulftream V is no longer roomy enough for the Italian tycoon.
The story of this Airbus ACJ (A 319-115 Long Range) is as short as it is complex. The aircraft had its maiden flight in Hamburg on April 18, 2005. with test markings D-AVWZ, and was delivered to Eurofly on the following May 31. On June 3, 2005, the aircraft was already leased to National Air Service which operated it for VIP flights as F-ONAS. On April 12, 2006, the ACJ was returned to the Italian airline and – at the beginning of May - it was one of the major exhibits at the EBACE airshow in Geneva. On that occasion the aircraft flaunted its definitive Italian registration I-ECJA.
During this event, dedicated to European business aviation, Eurofly announced their plan to use the ACJ, configured in a 48-seat luxurious layout, for a new scheduled VIP service from Milan/Linate city airport to New York. This business case - nicknamed MI-MA (Milano-Manhattan) – appeared as ingegnious as commercially risky. As a matter of facts, the U.S. Department of Transportation immediately denied traffic rights for the service. The obstacle was partially avoided by transforming the scheduled service into a chain of charter flights departing from Malpensa airport, rather than downtown Milan. During the Summer of 2006, the Eurofly’s ACJ, this time with a large sponsor advertisement, made a short series of transatlantic flights with unsatisfactory results.
In the same period, the Italian airline – set up in Turin in 1989 as the charter branch of Eurofly Service – after many years of succesful activity, was also struck by an unexpected financial crisis. Some months later Meridiana bought part of the capital of the ailing airline. During the Spring of 2007 the ACJ was seen stored without engines at Florence airport. Then the snake struck.

In the picture: Airbus A 319CJ I-ECJA operated by Alba Servizi Aerotrasporti. Malpensa airport, August 2007. (Aeromedia)

(Aeromedia, August 2007)