Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) and production partner/launch customer Comlux Group introduced in October the ACJ TwoTwenty, a private version of the Airbus A220-100 single-aisle airliner that “will offer an alternative to the traditional large cabin business jet and the bizliner,” Benoit Defforge, president of Toulouse-based ACJ, told AIN.
Slated for early 2023 EIS, the ACJ TwoTwenty (220) will be delivered fully outfitted from a wide choice of predefined luxury cabin configurations, and priced “just under” today’s latest large cabin business jets, Defforge said. (Gulfstream’s G700 and Bombardier’s Global 7500 list for about $75 million and $72.8 million, respectively.)
“Our strategy is to package the product with a flexible catalog cabin,” Defforge continued, contrasting the approach with its customary green deliveries and third party completions that bring the minimum price of a starter ACJ model to $100 million.
With a significant range increase to 5,650 nm and five-ton MTOW boost; ETOPS certification for extended overwater legs in hand; and a 6,000-foot maximum cabin altitude, the ACJ220 will be capable of linking London and Los Angeles; Moscow and Jakarta; Tokyo and Dubai; or Beijing and Melbourne comfortably, ACJ said, with a cabin offering three times the space but lower operating costs than today’s largest business jets.
Swiss corporate airliner specialist Comlux Group is taking the first two of the “Xtra Large Bizjets,” as ACJ tags the 220s, and its Indianapolis, Indiana Comlux Completion facility will outfit the first 15 cabins under an exclusive agreement with ACJ. (Four additional orders from undisclosed customers are in hand.)
Defforge promises “a very modern platform with the latest technology,” including Ku-band connectivity with double the speed of current onboard Wi-Fi, and an optional humidification system. Available in three interior motifs (avant-garde, or modern; timeless; and quintessence), the choices of interior design options combine to create 80 different interior configurations.
“This is a unique product in business aviation,” said Richard Gaona, Group Executive Chairman and CEO, noting its unprecedented combination of size and operational economy compared to executive airliners, as well as the large cabin business jets ACJ referenced. Fuel consumption on its Pratt and Whitney PW1500G engines “is very low — 50 percent less than the [ACJ]318,” Gaona said.
The group has extensive experience completing, operating and owning ACJs, having purchased and put 20 into service prior to this deal. Its Malta-based operations arm, Comlux Aviation, will make its 220’s available for charter and sale.
For buyers, the airframe has “good bones”; originally developed by Bombardier as the next generation short haul airliner (the CSeries) and incorporating contemporary technologies throughout the airframe, Airbus famously bought the program in 2018 (for $1) amidst the Canadian company’s cratering finances.
ACJ is also developing a low utilization maintenance plan for the 220, as it offers for its other models. These airframes are designed for rugged commercial service but are rarely flown as often or hard when outfitted for private use, obviating the rigorous inspection and servicing schedules mandated for commercial operators.
Though Boeing’s BBJ’s have dominated the world’s executive aircraft market in recent years and ACJ is a French company, the ACJ220 is well-positioned for sales in the U.S., business aviation’s global capital: The airframe is made in Alabama, the engines in Connecticut, and the completions performed in Indiana.
Comlux will receive the first airframe in December 2021, and is allowing 12 months for the first completion, with entry into service slated for early 2023, and anticipates eight months turn time per aircraft thereafter, and 3 to 4 ACJ220 deliveries per year.