EBACE: Comlux and Sonaca target ACJ operators with polished offering

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Comlux (stand 1669) has placed a firm order for another Bombardier ultra-long-range Global Express XRS jet, and plans to introduce its first Boeing Business Jet "in the autumn".

The Swiss VIP charter services company and cabin completions specialist has also embarked on a risk-sharing partnership with Belgian aerostructures company Sonaca to offer polished leading-edge slats to operators of Airbus ACJ aircraft.

The new Global Express XRS aircraft will feature the Global Vision flightdeck and is scheduled for delivery in 2012. It has already taken delivery of one aircraft of the same type, which is on static display here at EBACE, and it will receive another "in three months". A Challenger 605 and Airbus A318 Elite are due by the end of June.

Its first Boeing Business Jet, based on a Boeing 767-200ER, will be introduced in the autumn, says Comlux president Richard Gaona. A head-of-state cabin is being designed for a royal family in the Gulf.

Comlux has two aircraft - an Airbus A320 Prestige and a Bombardier Challenger 850 - undergoing completions at its Indianapolis maintenance and completions centre, which it has developed since taking over Indianapolis Jet Center in 2008. To "be free" to add Boeing capability at this centre, Comlux has divested its 40% share of the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre in Toulouse.

The company "cannot ignore" the Boeing Business Jet as it is the "leader" in the market, says Gaona.

Meanwhile, certification and first installation of Sonaca's polished slats is scheduled for July. Gaona says that the slats are part of Comlux's plans to deliver a "fantastic VIP look" to Airbus aircraft and live up to its name, a combination of "comfort" and "luxury". He expects them to meet "a lot of success" in the market.

While the polished slats are being marketed primarily on the basis of cosmetic appeal, they can also deliver a marginal improvement in drag by dint of the surface being less rough, according to Sonaca, which manufactures all slats for all Airbus aircraft.

The polished slats are the first innovation Comlux has developed for the exterior of an aircraft - but, Gaona stresses, "not the last".