Fly Comlux, the aircraft management and charter arm of the Comlux group, is today announcing the launch of a new operation that will make flights available in its own fleet as well as in aircraft owned and operated by other companies. The new OneAbove program has signed up Atlanta-based Polaris Aviation Solutions as its first third-party operator, with the Comlux charter sales team set to market flights in its Gulfstream G550 and Boeing Business Jet, both of which are based in the New York area.
Essentially, Fly Comlux is consolidating its charter sales team in the new program, which will give them more options in terms of suitable aircraft to offer VIP clients. Operational responsibility for aircraft from outside the Comlux fleet will stay with the third-party operators.
According to Comlux chairman and CEO Richard Gaona, OneAbove will allow Europe-based Fly Comlux to better serve charter companies in regions of the world where it does not have available aircraft and a local air operator certificate (AOC). Conversely, it gives other operators opportunities to secure charter bookings from clients in markets where they are not well established in sales infrastructure.
“We will be working with operators who match the Fly Comlux quality standard, and plan to add operators based in different regions of the world,” Gaona told AIN. The main office for OneAbove will be in Switzerland, with another opening in Miami, Fla., to handle the needs of U.S. clients and partner operators.
Fly Comlux itself is headquartered in Malta, where it has a European Union AOC. Its fleet includes a mix of the following aircraft types: Airbus ACJ319, Boeing 767, Bombardier Global 6000, Embraer Legacy 650 and Hawker 900XP. The company is equipped to oversee all aspects of flight and ground operations, crew training, finance and customer service.
“This expansion in our charter business was driven by high demand from our customers to have aircraft available around the world and, at the same time, aircraft operators willing to outsource their charter sales activity,” said Fly Comlux CEO Andrea Zanetto. “Our young and dynamic team of charter sales specialists is extremely motivated and excited by this new venture. We will be announcing some new aircraft we will be adding to our fleet soon.”
OneAbove’s Miami office also will be the focal point for Fly Comlux’s recently won contract to manage operations of a VIP-equipped Boeing 777-200LR widebody on behalf of U.S.-based luxury travel group Crystal AirCruises. The aircraft will be equipped to carry an exclusive number of VIP cruise “guests” for 14-, 21- and 28-day luxury “air cruise” trips to exotic worldwide locations, and is due to enter service sometime next year.
The Polaris 6,500-nmi-range G550 can seat up to 16 passengers in a cabin that features a dual-club seating area, a dining table for four and a private compartment with a pair of three-seat divans that can be berthed into twin beds. The BBJ, which is set to be available for charter starting in early 2017, has a forward lounge with two sets of club seats and an angled sofa, a large conference/dining room and two bedrooms at the rear (each with a shower).
“Comlux has a profound understanding of the critical business drivers and strategic opportunities across markets, globally,” commented Polaris Aviation Solutions COO Scott Mayer. “With a strong brand, deeply experienced management team and an exceptional culture and values, we could not have selected a better partner.”
Comlux America Expands
Meanwhile, the recently expanded Comlux America completions and maintenance operation in Indianapolis, Ind., continues to get busier. While the market for green aircraft completions remains fairly quiet, the company is seeing more work associated with maintenance, repair and overhaul needs and associated refurbishment projects.
Comlux currently has a BBJ and an Airbus A330 in its hangars, and it has just signed to handle a refurbishment for an ACJ.
The facility recently finished the completion of the first of the new Sukhoi Business Jets. At the same time, it is well equipped to handle C-checks and associated service bulletins for a variety of aircraft, including ACJs, BBJs and Bombardier models.
“In the last two or three months we have seen growing interest in completions work,” said Gaona. “Customers are now asking questions about [outfitting] the new [BBJ] Max and [ACJ] Neo aircraft, and when these arrive, it will be a full tsunami [of demand for completions], and for the first delivery slots we are looking at 2019 and 2020.”
Finally, the Comlux group is boosting its management team with the appointment of William Koperek as executive vice president for business development. Koperek comes to Comlux after a 30-year career with Boeing, culminating in the position of director of fleet support for Boeing Business Jets.
“With the arrival of Bill on the management team, Comlux is reinforcing its knowledge and expertise on the BBJ product line,” said Gaona. “Thanks to his global understanding of the customer needs in operations, completions and maintenance services, he will support the different businesses of the group around the world.”