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Business class New Swiss ‘off-road’ jet takes flight

Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus has successfully tested its latest machine, a so-called Super Versatile Jet designed also for short and unpaved runways.

This is the first jet by Pilatus Groupexternal link, which up to now has specialised in turboprop aircraft. According to the company website, the PC-24external link is the “only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium-light jet”.

Pilatus, based in Stans in canton Nidwalden, designed the PC-24 for business travel as well as rescue flights and freight transport. Certification of the PC-24 is expected in the fourth quarter of this year, and first deliveries should follow in November.

There have been 84 orders so far, and the first customers include Nestlé president Peter Brabeck and the Swiss cabinet. The made-in-Switzerland jets cost nearly CHF9 million ($8.9 million). As Pilatus board chairman Oscar Schwenk told Swiss public television, SRF, Pilatus needs to sell 1,000 jets in order to make a profit.

The prototype jet tested on Monday will be presented to the public in May at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibitionexternal link in Geneva. It will then serve as a factory demonstration aircraft. 

(SRF, swissinfo.ch/sm)