You’re buying a jet you really love. It’s the make and model you’ve been looking for, it’s at the right price point, the paint is in good condition, and the total time is right where you want it, but the jet interior looks less than stellar. Rene Banglesdorf considers, ‘now what?’
Replacing a jet's interior can be pricey, but it can be fun, too. As an aircraft owner, customizing your new jet's interior to fit your taste can really make it feel like it’s yours. You have complete freedom to select the material and color of your seats, the carpet, the side panels, accents, and more.
You can even change the layout, if you’d like, though that starts to get more expensive and complicated, as the service center must get approval from the certifying authority…
Make sure you inspect the condition of any wood paneling in any of your potential jet purchases. You’ll want to avoid changing it out, if possible, due to the increased time and funds required to complete the replacement. Inclusion of wood paneling replacement in your refurbishment can actually double or triple the total cost and downtime.
This also means you’ll want to pay close attention to caring for the wood paneling in your aircraft when you own it, so its condition doesn’t lower the value when it comes time to sell.
Although you do have complete freedom to do what you’d like, you’ll want to keep in mind that the style of the jet interior will affect the aircraft's value when you decide to sell. If that doesn’t matter to you, then by all means, go as gaudy as you’d like.
If you plan on chartering, however, or the resale value of your aircraft is important to you, you’ll likely want to go with a more understated and sophisticated look.
An additional consideration if you plan on chartering your aircraft is that you’ll want to select colors and materials that hide dirt well, including loop pile carpeting and darker leathers. You’ll also want to select materials that hold up well to wear and tear, ensuring that the main components will last as long as possible before requiring refurbishment again.
If you keep your carpet and seating materials low-key for resale and/or charter purposes, you can go a little bit flashier with the accents and side panels to make the interior a bit more interesting and inviting. Mixing it up with brighter colors and more complex designs can be a fun decision process, but make sure it fits in with the rest of the interior.
On a Mid-Size to Super Mid-Size jet, a soft goods replacement (seats, carpet, headliner and sidewall materials) typically takes up to two months to complete. Larger aircraft (Bombardier Challenger 605, Gulfstream G450/G550, etc.) can require more than three months of downtime to complete a soft goods replacement. The size of the aircraft is a major factor when it comes to cost and downtime.
If you continue to make sure the interior is well maintained throughout its lifetime, an aircraft that’s flown less than 200 hours a year can have an interior that lasts up to 10 years. It isn’t out of the ordinary to come across an aircraft owner that has employed a 'no shoes' or 'no red wine' policy specifically for that reason.
A good service center will be able to help you mix and match your color schemes and choose materials that best fit your desired jet interior. As is the case with just about every aspect of jet ownership, hiring the right team can raise the value of your aircraft, lower your stress level, and ensure that aircraft ownership is an enjoyable experience for you!