Airbus has launched the newest member of its Airbus Corporate Jetliner family - the A318 Elite - which has been ordered by Swiss charter company Comlux AG for deliveries beginning in early 2007.
Comlux AG's launch order for the new A318 Elite makes this Swiss-based charter company the first customer to choose two versions of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner product line - providing the full benefits of this aircraft family's commonality and operational flexibility.
The first of three A318 Elite aircraft acquired by Comlux will be received in early 2007, joining an A319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner ordered by the company for delivery in late June 2006.
Comlux is a relatively new entrant in the aircraft charter market, having started operations in April 2003, and building its initial fleet with smaller-cabin business jets.
"We are seeing a strong market demand for charter aircraft with increased cabin comfort and space - for which the Airbus Corporate Jetliner family is the perfect answer," explained Comlux President and CEO Ettore Rodaro. "With our mix of A318 Elites and the A319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner, we will have large-cabin aircraft for the full spectrum of charter operations - with the capability to handle both medium and long-range operations."
Rodaro said the A318 Elite's 4,000 naut. mi. range allows it to be used on a majority of Comlux' charter operations. "This range covers about 80 percent of typical charter activity, which involves non-stop flights averaging 3-4 hours in duration," he said. "For Comlux, the A318 Elite gives us the capability to serve such important markets as Europe-to-Central Asia and the Middle East-to-Europe, where the A318 Elite will be used on corporate and general charter flights."
Comlux will choose from the A318 Elite's two cabin configurations that accommodate either 14 passengers or 18 passengers. Rodaro said the 18-passenger configuration is particularly attractive, as it provides a total of 11 sleeping positions through the use of divans that serve as beds and passenger seats that recline 180 deg. Lufthansa Technik has been chosen as the A318 Elite's cabin interior provider in partnership with Airbus - which will manage the outfitting process.
The longer-fuselage A319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner to be operated by Comlux will feature seating for 19 passengers, and includes a private VIP bedroom in the forward cabin, which is followed by an executive lounge, a meeting/dining area, and an aft zone with first-class seats that recline 180 deg. This aircraft will be used for government and heads-of-state flights, as well as VIP operations and normal charter flights on routes of up to 6,000 naut. miles. Comlux has chosen Associated Air Center in Dallas, Texas to outfit their Airbus Corporate Jetliner cabin.
"Our company name is created from the words 'comfort' and 'luxury,' and Comlux' introduction of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner family will bring the highest levels of both comfort and luxury to our customers," Rodaro said.
As with the rest of Airbus' A320 airliner family, the A318 Elite and A319 Airbus Corporate Jetliner offer features that are not available on other business/corporate aircraft, including fly-by-wire controls, public transport certification, Category 3B autoland and centralised maintenance.
To date, Airbus has sold 50 Airbus Corporate Jetliner family aircraft to charter operators, governments and private individuals around the world.