Zurich-based charter operator Comlux Aviation is targeting the potential of the government travel and widebody market as it prepares to receive its first Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) later this year.
The company – established three years ago with a Bombardier Challenger 604 – is preparing this year to grow its fleet to five aircraft including the A319-based ACJ, says chief executive Ettore Rodaro.
Comlux ordered the 19-seat ACJ for delivery in May. It operates three business jets including a Dassault Falcon 2000X and an Embraer Legacy with a second Challenger to be delivered this week for service entry by the end of January.
“Four to five years ago we experienced the effect of the Global Express on the charter market and the subsequent boom. We believe the same thing will happen with the A319 ACJ,” says Rodaro.
“We’ve spotted this big gap. There aren’t many widebodies available and what there is in terms of business aviation configuration isn’t so great. Our aircraft will have bathrooms, a shower, a serious twin-bedded bedroom and a lounge and dining area,” he says.
Comlux’s marketing efforts are focused on Europe and aimed at capturing traffic between London and the Middle East, Moscow and the CIS and North America. “We are focusing our energies on selling capacity within the general charter market and are also targeting governments to offer the A319 high-security features in terms of aircraft comms and appliances plus the standard high level of our existing ground operations,” says Rodaro.
The business jet operator also in November became the first customer for Airbus’s entry-level business jet derivative, the A318 Elite, which provides a steep approach capability of 5.5º and short-field take-off and landing performance.
“It’s still quite a long way off, but we’ll be looking at operations from London City airport as we soon plan to operate our Embraer Legacy there. But it’s the A319 arriving in May which is certified for long-range ETOPS, which offers us some fantastic worldwide opportunities,” says Rodaro. Comlux has opted for CFM56 engines for its A318s and A319s.
AIMEE TURNER / LONDON
Source: Flight International