Comlux, The Aviation Group, began bringing luxury in flight to the private traveler in 2003 with operations in Switzerland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Malta, China and Aruba. In 2009, Comlux America was unveiled to the world, launching a never before perceived business model.
Comlux America distances itself from competitors by owning VIP aircraft and offering VIP charter services. Scott Meyer, CEO of Comlux America clarifies, “None of our competitors buy and manage aircraft prior to and after completion. We are a client-centric completion center. Even when an aircraft is in for service, we can provide a supplemental lift solution from within our VIP aircraft fleet.”
To ensure quality, efficiency and value, Comlux employs some of the most talented design and installation professionals in North America and has on-site fabrication shops for sheet metal, upholstery, cabinetry and avionics. Comlux America also proudly holds certification as an interior outfitter for Airbus and Boeing aircraft, ensuring that all practices meet the highest requirements in the aviation industry.
Invested in quality
In 2003, the travel needs of the company’s founder generated a need for an increased fleet size. Soon after, strong revenue opportunities were envisioned by offsetting fleet costs with a charter operation. This led to the Comlux Fleet managed by Fly Comlux, the Aircraft Management and the Comlux Transactions division; all firmly in place when Comlux America launched in 2009, solidifying the VIP Services capabilities under the Aviation Group Model.
Many of the group’s clients desired to purchase aircraft but didn’t know how to approach the acquisition. “We developed relationships as a result of buying aircraft, so we began to broker and conduct additional transactions for our clientele,” explains Meyer. “Now the acquisition, VIP completion, asset management, chartering, and maintenance of the aircraft is done should the client desire it. We adapt like none other to support the changing demands of the market.”
In contrast to other aviation service companies, the Comlux America completion center was not established specifically to generate investor returns.. “To better understand this you must be aware that Comlux is offering a comprehensive set of VIP services requiring the highest craftsmanship and these interior completions can easily be upward of $20 million,” Meyer further explains. “There is no venture capitalist or impatient funding requiring time-critical returns; we make certain we give full-service amenities to our clientele and do so profitably.”
“We invested in ourselves,” he adds. “We do not need to deliver six to 10 aircraft per year for viability; that is not in our founding principles. We’re not trying to steal or win market share, but to improve the market share we have so no client need look elsewhere. That success brings new business.”
Building lasting relationships
“Clientele arrive from around the world to our North American city that they would otherwise not typically do business in,” says Meyer. “The different cultures and experiences are shared and that’s a powerful element during the completion cycle – more often than not resulting in lasting relations long after the completion is done.”
Meyers adds that what brings his team together is a love for aviation – and for creating a customized experience for clients. “We have a wide range of mission-critical requirements that always come with challenges, and real obstacles," he explains. “All of our projects have unique execution challenges. Our greatest sense of pride is when our clients are happy when accepting redelivery of their aircraft. Every airplane we have delivered has exceeded the critical mission requirements and there is no greater sense of accomplishment than exceeding the client’s expectations.”
The operational mission requirements are also a high-level priority of every project. “You can’t use the excuse that a VIP cabin conflicts with the client’s need to fly a certain number of passengers 4,200 nautical miles,” says Meyer. “Competitors will say they cannot find solutions, but at Comlux we make it a point to provide options to achieve what the client requires. I believe we stand alone in the way we engineer VIP quality and still pay attention to the fact that downtime is critical. The elegant showpiece is still an aircraft with an uncompromising purpose. That’s our model, not why we can’t, but how we can – that is part of what we like to call our boutique experience. Every aircraft brought us challenges, and those challenges were all addressed in spectacular fashion.”
With great diversity in clientele and projects, Meyer, and his team enjoy an exciting work dynamic. “We provide customers with the capabilities to work, dine, stream Internet, shower, sleep, entertain and do things normally done on the ground, while in the air.”
“You see today airlines’ in-flight programming and WiFi were born from the VIP business. It drives the development,” Meyer elaborates. “We constantly develop new technology for our clients that ultimately will come to affect the life of the normal commercial passenger. We solve unique problems and bring people of different cultures together during the process. There’s a lot of value in that. It’s a shame that more can’t experience the world of VIP flying.”
With a worldwide employee base of around 600 people and 23 different nationalities, Comlux America employs 200 in Indianapolis alone. “We have a great team that includes the best of the best in our engineers and technicians,” says Meyer. “I marvel every day at the talent of our team; it is like none I’ve ever experienced. The completion business is not an easy one. However, it is extremely rewarding.”
With a strong network of relationships both within the corporate group and with strategic partners, Comlux America is set for strong growth in the coming years. A new market sector addressing the growth in wide-body aircraft is exploding worldwide. “We don’t yet have the ability to address it because we can’t fit them in our new hangar,” Meyer notes. “So we’re expanding. In April, we broke ground on a hangar expansion that will fit most wide-body aircraft and simultaneously accommodate two to three single-aisle planes. The hangar expansion completion date is anticipated to be in October 2015.”
Overall, the name and brand of Comlux has created a strong presence in the industry and it is respected worldwide. “The pedigree to the name was something that one of the original founders created, the combining of two words, comfort and luxury,” Meyer notes. With new markets to explore and an ever-changing clientele, Comlux America continues to and looks forward to the future of setting landmarks in the private aviation market.