ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss plane maker Pilatus's development costs of "well over 500 million Swiss francs" (376.50 million pounds) far exceeded the original budget for the company's first business jet, Chairman Oscar Schwenk told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung in an article published on Saturday.
Founded in 1939, Pilatus made its name in prop aircraft and military trainers but is now staking its future on versatile, faster jets that appeal to affluent customers and corporate travellers.
Pilatus on Thursday obtained certificates from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its PC-24 jet that signify its airworthiness, setting the stage for the first aircraft delivery this month.
"And all performance data promised to our first 84 customers have been achieved or even exceeded," the company said in a statement.
However, meeting the targets did not come cheap, Schwenk told the Swiss newspaper, saying a running list of improvements were undertaken on the plane during the certification process.
Pilatus investors took a risk in embarking on the jet project, Schwenk told the newspaper, adding that the development costs of "well over 500 million francs" far exceeded the original planned budget.
Pilatus now has eight PC-24s on its assembly line in Stans, Switzerland, it said, with the first delivery slated to be made to U.S. fractional aircraft ownership company PlaneSense this month before that plane is flown to the United States in January.
In total, 23 deliveries are planned though 2018, it said.
Sources in 2016 said that Pilatus was considering a possible IPO.
(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)