Airbus Unveils ACJ TwoTwenty
Airbus on Oct. 6 unveiled the latest in its family of corporate business jets, the A220-based ACJ TwoTwenty, with orders for six aircraft.
The launch customer is Comlux Aviation for two aircraft, with undisclosed customers taking the next four. Comlux, a long-term Airbus customer, operator, completions center and now Airbus partner, will outfit the first 15 aircraft in a dedicated ACJ TwoTwenty center at its Indianapolis complex.
The first completed aircraft will enter service in early 2023, Comlux Executive Chairman and CEO Richard Gaona says.
The market has long anticipated an ACJ220. Now, with passengers staying away from the airlines and wealthy individuals and corporations turning to private aviation, A220s are available from the production lines.
Airbus claims the ACJ TwoTwenty creates a new class of executive aircraft: the Xtra Large Bizjet, with an increased range of up to 5,650 nm/10,500 km and an endurance of more than 12 flight hours, directly connecting city pairs like London and Los Angeles, Moscow and Jakarta, Tokyo and Dubai, and Beijing and Melbourne. Its cabin, with up to six living zones, is larger than the largest Gulfstream and Bombardier jets, but smaller than the Airbus A320-family-derived VIP aircraft.
Airbus is offering cabin designs for up to 18 passengers.
Comlux last month delivered its first completed ACJ320neo, the third neo to enter service worldwide. The company is the single largest customer for the Airbus ACJ320neo family of VVIP business jets, with an order for four. Its orderbook for Airbus corporate jets now totals 22 over the last decade. “We are the No. 1 client ever of Airbus in the VIP market,” Comlux’s Gaona says.
Comlux is unique in the industry in that it purchases aircraft on its own books, hoping to resell them to clients who will also select Comlux to outfit them and even operate them. Comlux has won completion contracts for all four of its A320neo family aircraft, making it the leading completions center for the type, Gaona says.
He acknowledges that Comlux’s strategy to buy aircraft before finding customers was very risky, “but it has paid off.” The company also purchased two Boeing 737 MAX 8s soon after they were introduced. The first arrived “green” at its Indianapolis center in February 2019, but completion has been delayed by the grounding of the aircraft type.