Zurich-based VVIP charter company Comlux has taken delivery of the first Airbus A318 Elite - one of three on order - which will make it the first to operate the type.
The aircraft will now be outfitted with a VIP cabin seating up to 18 passengers, by Lufthansa Technik at Hamburg, which is due to deliver the completed aircraft in spring next year. It is powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines.
The A318 Elite is the newest and smallest member of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family, which also includes the Airbus ACJ and A320 Prestige.
Offering unprecedented comfort and spaciousness - like the rest of the family it has the widest cabin of any corporate jet - the A318 Elite is an attractive trade-up option for existing customers and operators, as well as an affordable entry-level aircraft.
"We constantly strive to offer our passengers the best in comfort and service, which the Airbus A318 Elite will allow us to deliver in a new and unique market-segment," says Comlux President and CEO Ettore Rodaro. "We were delighted with the Airbus ACJ that we took delivery of earlier this year, and are very excited about adding the A318 Elite to our fleet," he adds.
Launched in autumn 2005, the Airbus A318 Elite made its first flight in October this year. Derived from the A318 airliner, the A318 Elite incorporates additional corporate jet features - such as a VIP cabin, an additional centre tank that confers transatlantic range, a higher cruise altitude of 41,000 ft, and built-in airstairs.
The A318 Elite is also being certificated for steep approaches, which have the potential to allow operations at airports with tough noise rules and nearby obstacles.
"There are many corporate jets on the market, but if you want the best in space and comfort, it's the Airbus ACJ family that stands out from the crowd," comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. "Comlux builds its business on delivering excellence to VVIP customers, and we are delighted that it has chosen our Airbus ACJ Family in which to provide it," he adds.
Airbus' ACJ Family has won around 80 firm orders to date.
It was the first to introduce fly-by-wire controls to the corporate jet market, and its modern design features many innovations that have set the industry standard in their field. These include an advanced aerodynamic design with wingtip fences as standard, extensive use of weight-saving carbonfibre composites, built-in reliability and fully centralised maintenance for faster and easier trouble-shooting.
Airbus is an EADS company.