EBACE 2011: Comlux Unveils Just-completed A320ACJ
A unique Airbus ACJ320 arrived here on Sunday and is on static display, the first Airbus to be designed, completed and operated by Comlux the Aviation Group. The ACJ320 flew to Malta, where it was reregistered as 9H-AWK, then made stops in Zurich and Toulouse, France, before arriving in Geneva for its commercial debut.
Fly Comlux, the group’s charter/management division, now operates six Airbuses, including three A318 Elites, two ACJs and the ACJ320 (Airbus has rebranded its VVIP jets as ACJ318, ACJ319 and so on). The entire Fly Comlux fleet totals 18 aircraft, and four more will join the fleet, including one more ACJ319 this year and another next year. The ACJ320 will be based at Comlux’s new Bahrain base.
The interior and exterior of the newest Comlux ACJ320 was designed by Comlux Creatives, and all interior work was done at Comlux America in Indianapolis, Indiana. “We started with the idea: Where is the aircraft flying?” said Tim Callies, senior architect and head of Comlux Creatives. “It’s going to the Middle East, so we thought, what are the colors of the Middle East, what are the themes of the Middle East?”
The result incorporated the theme of the vast sandy deserts adjoining blue oceans, he explained, using “blue and beige colors to give the impression to the customer who is going to fly this aircraft that he feels home and cozy.” The carpet, by Tai-Ping, echoes the fractal beauty of undulating dunes.
Wood veneer throughout the cabin is multi-layered, which was a real challenge, according to Callies, as it was necessary to build the layers of Wenge veneer on top of a honeycomb core to keep weight to a minimum. A satin finish on the veneer doesn’t show fingerprints as would a glossy finish, and the closed grain adds a natural look. Smooth but visually striking Zebrano veneer adds a lighter touch to the lavatories, which also feature handsome stone mosaic tiles.
“We combine sand colors with the nice blue ocean colors,” Callies said, “and it helped us to have a fresh feeling inside the cabin. It’s not only brown and beige; it’s also some new colors we never had before in our aircraft. It’s, on the one side, a very warm atmosphere but on the other side not boring [with] maybe too much beige and browns. You always find something with your eyes to give you some new impressions. That’s something I like very much.”
A variety of Majilite artificial leathers in styles, such as faux stingray, accent the walls, the dining table and other items. Some of the faux leather-clad walls feel almost silky. The advantage of not using real stingray skin, Callies pointed out, is that there are no seams in the Majitite, not to mention no need to kill a lot of stingrays.
The Comlux ACJ320 has a three-cabin layout, with two galleys–a smaller one behind the cockpit and a larger galley aft. The main room up front has two club seats and seating for six, including an L-shaped divan, around the six-place dining table. A private lounge in the center of the airplane has a divan and large seat that convert to a queen-size bed, plus a private lavatory with a full shower.
The largest of the three big video displays is found in the lounge, a 41-inch unit. The other two, mounted on bulkheads in the forward main cabin, are slightly smaller. Aft of the lounge are business-class seats, and behind those some higher-density seating. The airplane can carry up to 19 passengers and fly as far as 4,000 nm.
LED lighting adjusts to set the mood in the cabin, which features iPod stands, touchscreen cabin controls, Wi-Fi connections to satcom-provided Internet access and multiple Blu-ray and DVD players.
“I am very proud of my team who worked on this project,” said David Edinger, Comlux America CEO. “Our craftsmen did a remarkable job and exceeded our client’s expectations in terms of quality.”
“This is one of the first A320s that will be available for charters,” said Francois Chazelle, Airbus vice president of executive and private aviation. “It’s an aircraft that we’ll be able to show our customers and will represent the whole Airbus ACJ family, so we’re proud to see this addition to the charter family of Airbus corporate jets.”