Comlux To Be Launch Customer for Sukhoi Business Jet

 - October 10, 2011, 10:25 AM
Comlux president Richard Gaona said his company expects to begin operating the airplanes by 2015 and is buying them “to prepare ourselves for the future.”

SuperJet International, manufacturer of the new Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional airliner, announced here at the NBAA show that Comlux The Aviation Group will be the launch customer for an executive variant of the aircraft. The agreement covers two Sukhoi Business Jets (SBJs) and options for two more. Each aircraft costs $50 million (including interior completion), so the deal is worth $200 million.

“Comlux is a very impressive company,” SuperJet CEO Carlo Logli told AIN. He added that the deal “was a logical step to increase our product portfolio and increase our sales forecast.”

Comlux president Richard Gaona said his company expects to begin operating the airplanes by 2015 and is buying them “to prepare ourselves for the future.” He added that Comlux may well “extend the deal for another six or up to 10” additional aircraft. The company already has 19 business aircraft and has eight more on order or in the completion phase.

SuperJet International expects to sell an additional 80 to 100 SBJs over the next 20 years, according to Logli. The company anticipates much higher sales–about 1,000 aircraft over the same period–for its 100-seat, $32-million regional airliner, which first entered service last April. The company has already taken orders for 168 of these, including 30 each from Russia’s Aeroflot, Bermuda-based Pearl Aircraft and Indonesia’s Kartika Airlines.

“Of course, we cannot survive with [just the SBJ’s sales] volume but it’s a profitable segment [of the market], which can increase our brand image,” said Logli, who noted two key differences between the executive and regional versions of the aircraft. The executive jet, he said, has a 4,300-nm range–more than double that of the regional airliner version–thanks to its six additional fuel tanks. The other major difference is that the SBJ offers a spacious and “completely fresh” interior designed for VIP passengers. At 4,192 cu ft, it is “the largest [cabin] in its category,” claimed Logli.

While Logli said that his company’s business model offers a “similar layout” to Boeing’s BBJ and Airbus’s ACJ, he emphasized that SuperJet International doesn’t intend for the SBJ to compete with such aircraft, which have significantly greater range and larger cabins. The executive version of the Superjet, he said, competes more directly with Embraer’s Lineage 1000, which has a similar price tag, cabin size and range. “We’re talking about 4,300 nautical miles,” Logli said. “This is our segment. In our segment, we are definitely very well placed.”

SuperJet International is a joint venture by Rome-based Alenis Aeronatica (51 percent) and Russia’s Sukhoi Holding (49 percent).

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