AirX Charter (AXY, Malta Int'l) is planning to add a second A340 quadjet and to enter the ACMI market with the unit, Chairman John Matthews told the Corporate Jet Investor.

"I want to do what Titan Airways (ZT, London Stansted) is doing, but with used aircraft. I want to do what Hi Fly (5K, Beja) is doing, but with used aircraft. It will be there to fill a gap. Because obviously some airlines have gone bankrupt, and a lot more will go bankrupt," Matthews said.

Short of disclosing the identity or the precise timeline for the aircraft delivery, Matthews said that he would like to add the A340 "within a couple of months". The aircraft will be equipped with a high-density cabin and will be proferred both to the ACMI market and for charter flights, for example with groups of sports fans.

The Maltese business charter specialist already operates a single A340-300, 9H-BIG (msn 374). The 19-year-old unit is equipped with up to 100 seats in a VIP configuration.

AirX Charter also wants to add a further two Embraer Lineage 1000 business jets, becoming the world's largest operator of the type.

"We are executing a planned expansion at the moment with several Lineages arriving. We don’t have ETOPS approval yet, however as soon approval is given, we can start targeting the transatlantic market. We are now moving into true intercontinental jets with the Lineage expansion," Matthews said.

Matthews added that he expected that a crisis will hit the business charter market shortly and operators of smaller aircraft, seating up to 14 passengers, will be particularly affected. In contrast, the market for larger jets is relatively less saturated.

He pointed out that due to the limited demand for Lineage 1000s, the aircraft are available at low prices. They can compete both against larger Airbus and Boeing narrowbody executive jets, as well as against Global Express jets, which are much more expensive to buy.

"I'm picking [the Lineage 1000s] up at less than 20% of their initial sale price when the aircraft are only a couple of thousand hours old. So, they have two decades of life left, but they have lost 80% of their value. They have no business jet hourly rates on the engines, they have no complicated engine maintenance programs, and we can buy any spares we want from any airline that operates the E190 family," Matthews said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Embraer Executive Jets delivered only thirty Lineage 1000s to customers, including two to the Força Aérea Brasileira. A further unit is flying for the manufacturer. Out of the 30 delivered aircraft, two are currently stored without an operator - msn 19000261 and 19000307.

The Maltese business charter specialist, a subsidiary of AirX Executive Jets (Salzburg), currently operates a diversified fleet consisting of an A340-300, three B737-500s, one Lineage 1000, seven Challenger 850s, one Challenger 800, and three Legacy 600s. In addition, the carrier's German sister unit AirX Charter (Germany) (AXG, Egelsbach) operates one Challenger 850 and four Cessna 750s.

Going forward, Matthews said that AirX Charter will also add Airbus or Boeing narrowbody business jets.