Geneva-based Comlux Aviation is expanding its fleet into double figures as it grows its capacity to meet demand from prime regions including Russia and the Middle East.
The first of five A318 Elites is being deployed and Comlux has ordered four more which will boost its fleet between this spring and 2010 along with a Challenger 605 due to arrive in the winter of 2007.
"The A318s have the wide and comfortable cabin that people like. Our clients in Russia and the Middle East are among those that especially like space to relax in," says ceo Ettore Rodaro. "It also complements and provides alternatives to our longer range aircraft. The A318s are ideal for the African and Middle East markets."
Rodaro says that Comlux is pursuing controlled expansion, allowing time for each new aircraft to be incorporated seamlessly into its systems. "We want to make sure that the standard is consistent," he adds.
The current fleet includes a Falcon 2000 EASy based in Geneva, a Challenger 604 sited in Moscow, with a Legacy and Global Express serving Europe and Moscow, and an A319 which is on special charter until May 2008. Comlux has placed the joint largest order for A318s, the other buyer opting to remain undisclosed.
Rodaro says clients like the Challenger 604's large cabin, range and reliability. "I think the Challenger 605's restyled interior, larger windows and advanced cabin electronic system will prove even more appealing," he adds.
Comlux's Moscow office staff has grown to 12 and it reports solid and growing charter sales. Rodaro reports that the eastern European market is also growing fast.
The first A318 Elite has been outfitted by Lufthansa Technik and all will be powered by CFM International CFM56-5s.
Airbus ceo John Leahy says the A318 Elite provides four distinct cabin zones, two in the main cabin, a private office and an area for entourage.
Comlux says it was also attracted by the advanced fuel saving aerodynamic design with wingtip fences as standard, extensive use of weight-saving carbon fibre structure, a cost-saving common cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and centralised maintenance.