Business aviation services company Comlux is making its first foray into the commercial aircraft market with the launch of a division dedicated to promoting and installing its auxiliary fuel tank offering, known as the forward additional Comlux tank (FACT).
Speaking to FlightGlobal at the show, where Comlux is promoting the system, chief operating officer Arnaud Martin, said the move is designed to broaden the company's portfolio of services beyond the "volatile, but rewarding" business aviation market, to the "more stable" commercial airliner sector.
The first FACT has been designed and built for Airbus A321s equipped with the airframer's auxiliary fuel tank system. "There are around 500 examples of these 170-180-seaters, and we hope to get around 10% of this market," says Martin.
The FACT was developed by the company's Indianapolis-based completions and maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary, Comlux USA, with Airbus "playing an advisory role", says Martin.
The system achieved US supplemental type certification in February after a four-month flight-test campaign, with a privately owned VIP A321 providing the testbed.
The VIP variants will only make up a small share of the FACT market, Martin says, as there are so few of the types in service. "The commercial airliner market on the other hand has huge potential from operators looking to increase the value of their ceo [current engine option] variants and to offer longer routes on their network," he adds. The FACT boosts the A321 variant's range by up to 400nm (740km) to 3,600nm.
"We may widen the offering eventually to include A321s that don’t have the additional Airbus fuel tanks, but we will have to address centre of gravity issues to make this happen," he adds.
Comlux plans to offer a FACT family covering a variety of airliners, including the A320 and Boeing 757. "It has huge potential on other platforms, but our focus for now is on the A321," says Martin.