Airbus kicked off its show with an order announcement to the tune of around $250 million for five A318 Elites from its ACJ family. The order comes just days after the official handover of the first Elite to launch customer Comlux Aviation.

Petters Group Worldwide of Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA has placed a firm order for an additional five aircraft. This new order brings its total to six on type and makes it the largest single customer for the Elite.

“The A318 is perfectly suited for business aviation use – be it as a shuttle or corporate or even just for a high net-worth individual.  We feel it could even go so far as to dominate the market in North America,” says Jay Salmen, president Petters Aviation.

“We’re looking at setting up a sales and service centre for the rest of the ACJ family,” adds Salmen. “The aircraft has a great commercial reputation and we want to demonstrate that to the business aviation community.”

The first aircraft has a delivery slot for the second quarter of 2009 with an aircraft following every six months thereafter. It will be used both and for marketing.

The Comlux aircraft has already made two non-stop transatlantic trips and uses CFM56-5 engines. Comlux has 120min ETOPS certification for its Elite and will use the aircraft to offer “unprecedented comfort and service to the VVIP charter market”.

Ettore Rodaro, Comlux president, says: “We wanted to demonstrate to our VVIP charter customers that we operate on of the most modern and comfortable corporate jets, and that we are now ready to grow our business. The Elite complements our existing fleet and we expect to utilise around 600 hours a year.”

He adds: “The Lufthansa Technik cabin makes the aircraft very comfortable with seating for up to 18 passengers as well as a private office and several washrooms.  The elegant business-like interior will appeal to both individuals and companies alike.”

Source: Flight Daily News