Private jet concept with sundeck and dance floor showcased at Dubai Airshow

(CNN) – A helicopter with vegetarian seating, a private jet with a sundeck and garage, and a hotel owner’s plan to hold a disco at 35,000 feet – all three concepts even debuted at the Dubai Airshow last week alongside a host of others designed to lure VIPs back into the skies.

Despite the aviation industry being hit hardest by the global pandemic and criticism for its role in the climate crisis, demand from wealthy jets shows no sign of abating. .

Lufthansa Technik, an aircraft overhaul specialist and sister company of the German airline, wanted to offer a private jet that would provide an experience similar to a superyacht, taking its owner anywhere. at any time while also offering the amenities of a five-star hotel and base camp. for recreational activities.

At the Airshow, it showed Cabin concept “Explorer” for the wide-body Airbus A330, includes a retractable sundeck (opens only when parked), four double bedrooms, a gym and a garage.
NS "Explorer" The concept includes a large merchandise store that opens to reveal a superyacht-inspired sundeck after landing.

The “Explorer” concept includes a large storefront that opens to reveal a superyacht-inspired sundeck after landing.

Lufthansa Technik AG

Wieland Timm, Sales Manager for VIP & Special Operations at Lufthansa Technik. That way, it would be a faster luxury travel option than a superyacht, he added, allowing passengers to tour different corners of the world within hours.

But such a service comes with a hefty price tag. Lufthansa Technik estimates it will cost 100 million euros ($110 million) to fit the cabin on a 200-foot Airbus A330, in addition to the normally listed $230 million cost of the plane. “It was a huge investment,” said Timm.

Using the latest projection technology, cabin windows can light up with virtual content requested by guests, for example simulating the sky outside.

Using the latest projection technology, cabin windows can light up with virtual content requested by guests, for example simulating the sky outside.

Lufthansa Technik AG

Another, perhaps more affordable, option is the “flying hotel” introduced by FIVE, a Dubai-based real estate group that operates a chain of luxury hotels and resorts in the city. . During the Airshow, he bought a Airbus ACJ TwoTwenty, which the company wants to use to carry passengers around the world from 2023.

Before that, the airline will refurbish the 786-square-foot plane, complete with a dining table for eight and a kitchen that serves gourmet cuisine from Dubai’s best restaurants. The hotel’s in-house DJs will perform on board, and there’s a suite with king beds for those wanting an early night.

The explosion of private jets

These concepts are taking advantage of soaring demand for luxury jets. During a pandemic, like Commercial aviation declines, wealthy travelers who want to avoid crowded planes or the uncertainty of commercial flights hop on a private jet. For example, Florida-based private airline FlyEliteJets has reported a 150% increase in bookings since Covid-19 began, and private jet charter service VistaJet recorded demand for global flight times. across its brands is up 65% since last March.
According to the US airline manufacturer Honeywell AerospacePrivate jet sales also increased, with aircraft manufacturers reporting a sharp increase in orders since the pandemic. The company forecasts up to 7,400 new commercial aircraft deliveries worth $238 billion over the next decade.

“Business aviation has proven to be flexible and reliable, with safety and security measures in place,” said Timothy Hawes, managing director at Tarsus Middle East, organizer of the Dubai Airshow 2021. strongly applied during pandemic times.

Greener planes and narrow body models created a buzz at the Dubai Airshow.

Hawes told CNN the event was the industry’s first major gathering since Covid-19, boosting confidence across the industry. Though apprehensive about the amount of business it will generate, he says more than $78 billion worth of deals were secured or announced during the five-day event and it attracted more than 100,000 visitors. access.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to meet face-to-face with people who haven’t had that opportunity for the past 20 months,” he said. “Dubai Airshow is really the highlight that everyone in the industry has been waiting for.”

The luxury jet has generated a lot of interest among visitors, he added. Among the 175 aircraft on display during the event – representing all sectors from commercial to military – were Airbus Corporate Helicopters vegan helicopters.

The company has furnished the interior of its latest luxury vehicle, the ACH145, with super sponge, a synthetic material that mimics the real thing, at the request of wealthy clients Urs and Daniela Brunner . According to Airbus, this is in line with the ethical values ​​of Daniela, whose fashion brands Giulia and Romeo use no animal products and donate profits to animal welfare.

The vegan upholstered chairs, tailored to the wishes of the super-rich, were on display at the Airshow.

The vegan upholstered chairs, tailored to the wishes of the super-rich, were on display at the Airshow.

Christian Keller

Environmental costs

However, the rise of private jets comes despite concerns about their disproportionate impact on climate change. According to the clean transport campaign group Traffic & Environment.

It is unknown what emissions per passenger will be for the Explorer concept by Lufthansa Technik. The Airbus A330 usually carries more than 250 passengers, but the Explorer is designed for 12 VIPs, although its creators say they could develop other variants that can hold up to 47 passengers.

Timm admits that it doesn’t make sense to have a “green fingerprint” when flying with so few people, but says “people who want to do it, will.”

He added that some VIP customers are taking steps to be more eco-friendly, such as asking for recycled materials to be used in the cabin and asking for new, more fuel-efficient planes or have less engines.

But ultimately, higher on their list of priorities are comfort, security and privacy, Timm said, and while the need remains, airlines and manufacturers will continue to do so. response.

This story has been updated to accommodate the number of bedrooms on the Explorer concept plane and to clarify passenger requirements for aircraft with fewer engines.


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