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We live in the age of fabulous wealth - so it’s only natural - if you can afford it- why not have the latest in widebody VVIP aircraft to whisk you and your family or collegues around the world in total luxury. The wave of orders at last year’s NBAA Convention for the new generation of very large wide-body VVIP aircraft was unprecedented- especially considering that neither the Boeing 787 Dreamliner- or the stretched ...

Mike Vines   |   1st January 2007
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Interior designs for the new age of V VIP aircraft

We live in the age of fabulous wealth - so it’s only natural - if you can afford it- why not have the latest in widebody VVIP aircraft to whisk you and your family or collegues around the world in total luxury.

The wave of orders at last year’s NBAA Convention for the new generation of very large wide-body VVIP aircraft was unprecedented- especially considering that neither the Boeing 787 Dreamliner- or the stretched Boeing 747-8- have yet been built- let-alone flown… in fact the civil version of the B747-8 hasn’t even been launched yet.

At the Convention- the president of Boeing Business Jet- Steve Hill- announced that his company had taken orders for five Boeing 787 Dreamliner VVIP aircraft (green list price of $153 million) including orders for the longer B787-9 which has a 206 feet long fuselage and a non-stop range of 8-600nm-8-800nm; an order for one of the shorter bodied B787-8 (incorporating a length of 186 feet and a range of 8-000–8-500nm); and three stretched Boeing 747-8s. Since then another VVIP Dreamliner order was placed by PrivatAir of Switzerland in early December 2006 (see World Aircraft Scene) - the first for a named commercial business aviation customer- and it will be the first available for charter.

The first of these B787s is due to arrive at completion centers around mid-2010 according to BBJ. Final assembly of the first Dreamliner has only just begun in Seattle- with a first airline delivery scheduled for mid-2008.

The Dreamliner is highly fancied for its clean lines- engine efficiency and lighter construction (because of the large amount of composites embodied)- and there is probably another reason for this glut of VVIP orders coming to Boeing’s door step- rather than Airbus’: Lack of suitable new generation aircraft availability in the short term.

Toulouse’s new Airbus A350 airliner- which first gained over 100 airline orders at the 2005 Paris Air Show- was later seen by those airlines as not radical enough to compete with Boeing’s Dreamliner. Airbus had to revamp its design to compete- and came up with the A350XWB (Extra Wide Body) which was only formally launched last month- after being presented for the first time at last year’s Farnborough Airshow in July.

In the intervening period- several VVIP orders that Boeing have gained- could well have been split between the two companies if the A350 was farther along the track. The same could also be said for the delays with the Airbus A380 super jumbo- and therefore delays to its VVIP version - none of which have yet been ordered. This could well also explain the flurry of orders for the yet to be launched Boeing 747-8 VVIP derivative.

An A380 VVIP interior concept design debuted publicly by Lufthansa Technik (LHT) 18 months ago had both Jet Aviation and LHT vying for this first ultra prestigious order. This project- however- seems firmly on the back-burner for quite a while.

Boeing says that none of its VVIP ’787 or ’747-8 clients have yet chosen a completions company for the 1-2 year outfitting process. Jet Aviation says that it is negotiating with four Boeing 787 VVIP clients- two of whom are existing clients- while LHT says that it is currently talking to more than two ’787 VVIP customers.

Competing interior concepts have been published by LHT- which has teamed with London-based Andrew Winch Designs- while Jet Aviation has hired the services of London’s Peder Eidsgaard of Eidsgaard Design.

Andrew Winch- who started life as a luxury yacht designer- has designed some of the most spectacular VVIP aircraft interiors over the past five years- including the ex-Multiflight BBJ2- and a certain high profile Aruba registered Boeing 767.

Peder Eidsgaard is working with Jet Aviation of Basel on the ’787 concept which was presented at EBACE 2006. “The consequence of that was that Andrew Winch was asked by LHT to design its ’787 concept which was presented at last year’s NBAA convention-” said Eidsgaard- who worked for Andrew Winch Design up until eighteen months ago- but parted amicably. “We meet together from time but we are in direct competition.”

Dreamliner VVIP interior concepts were launched by both companies to persuade potential buyers to acquire Boeing’s new generation aircraft as the ultimate in long range luxury flight. To achieve this both Jet Aviation and Lufthansa Technik- and their freelance designers- have produced concepts that show a new dynamic vision in this market.

Andrew Winch explains- “Our creative team and Lufthansa Technik’s designers want to show that the possibilities for a cabin are endless. Whether the clients requirement is personal- corporate- or governmental- no one should feel their choices are limited to that which exists today.”

His concept allows for no-less than 32 lie-flat seats or beds throughout the cabin with nine of these classified as double beds.

Winch/LHT 787 Interior
The LHT/Winch design has a forward lounge (certified for 12 people) which incorporates three multifunctional seating areas- with generous sofas and fully reclining armchairs.

The coffee table at each seating area raises and converts into a dining table to enable each area to be used for additional informal dining as required. The room can also be arranged in a modern ‘majlis’ style configuration. Favorite TV programs and movies can be enjoyed on a 50 inch plasma screen on the forward bulkhead.

Moving rearwards there are two en-suite guest cabins- to right and left- each including a generous single bed which can be converted to a double. An additional VIP suite encompasses a queen-sized double bed- and 42 inch plasma screen above the feature credenza. The suite also includes a dedicated dressing area and bathroom with shower.

The dining and conference room is a prime feature of the design and is highly visible upon entering the plane. The centrally located feature dining table seats ten and has buffet credenzas on either side for ease of serving. A 42 inch plasma screen can rise up from the credenza to the aft of the dining table.

The integrated movie theater is a complete entertainment extravaganza- says LHT- which is also designed for live entertainment and as a second social seating area. The latest movies can be watched from the generous and sumptuous seating areas- whilst experiencing the full surround sound experience.

The central high/low sofa maximizes viewing potential and has a trackable ottoman encouraging passengers to lie back and completely ‘chill out’. This area also has three trackable fully reclining cinema chairs and two chaise longue which can also pivot.

Supplied and serviced by the adjacent galley- guests at the bar can relax on fixed bar stools or on reclining chairs.

As we continue aft; next is the VIP suite complete with 42 inch plasma screen- a dedicated dressing area and ensuite bathroom. The full width master stateroom is at the rear of the aircraft for maximum privacy and includes the owner’s private office located off a sitting room (which has its own 42 inch plasma screen) and a very generous bathroom with large circular shower- his and hers basins- a full height wardrobe and much- much more.

Eidsgaard/Jet Aviation’s 787 Interior
Eidsgaard’s Dreamliner design has 24 certified seats- 14 of which can be used as sofas or reclining chairs after take-off- while beds are available for ten guests.

Peder Eidsgaard’s 787 design has his two tier movie theatre at the front of the aircraft positioned 90 degrees across the cabin- whereas in Winch’s design it is positioned paralleled to the aircraft’s center line and towards the center of the cabin.

The luxurious movie lounge is accessible only through a ‘timber’ lined hallway- in a cul-de-sac which permits complete privacy if required. Designed for cinema presentations- with a 60 inch pop-up plasma screen- it can serve multiple functions including live performances or as a family room. There is a crew passageway outside this area which enables passengers to access the adjacent galley and the rest of the cabin.

Moving aft there are two large guest cabins (on the left hand side of the cabin) each complete with single/double beds and ensuite bathrooms with shower. This frees up space on the cabin’s right hand side for a library and lounge area. An elegant eight seat formal dining table is at 90 degrees across the cabin.

Next comes a very spacious and luxurious sitting room- then the VIP guest room with its own generous space and ensuite facilities. At the rear of the aircraft is the totally private and massive master stateroom complete with walk-in showers and all facilities- and between the VIP guest room and the master stateroom there is even a massage and gym or sauna area.

How it all comes together
The strong super-yacht link by both Eidsgaard and Winch is very much evident in their innovative and inspired work. “The design concept process is similar in some ways for both aircraft and yachts-” explained Eidsgaard. “We meet with the client to analyze the user profile of the vessel/aircraft and as far as possible we want to be involved with the entire layout.”

Eidsgaard didn’t say that boat design was easier but made the point that with a boat you are not working to the same constraints and fixed dimensions of an aircraft. In fact with a boat design both Eidsgaard and Winch design teams design the external shape of the boat from the hull upwards.

“For a boat design- we start with a hole in the water! Unless it is a very high speed boat the technical aspects are not cutting edge in that sense. A boat is a relatively slow moving object and has hardly any weight issues. For a specific length of boat we know the engine room we will need for a specific amount of space and its position- so we are totally involved with the internal and external shape of the boat above the water line.

“We do of course work closely with the engineers to check our ideas will work-” he rapidly added. “We create the entire layout concept including the exterior profile of the boat– all the sundecks- the shape of the superstructure and of course work very closely with the shipyard concerned. It’s a lot of work!” he said. “We define the whole appearance of the boat.”

So what’s it like working with these billionaire owners? “Some are very interested and involved in the design process while others give us the freedom to develop the concept within their guidelines. We aim to make very accurate drawings from the very beginning so that they represent what is really possible-” said Eidsgaard. “Everyone in the industry are very busy so we have to make sure the development phase is as efficient as possible.

“We try to make the aircraft external paint schemes unique. For example an Airbus A319 is not a very long aircraft- but is quite tall- so we design and apply a paint scheme that makes it look longer and more dynamic than its sister aircraft in airline service. We define the paint line to the smallest detail and sometimes visit the paintshop and apply some of the lines ourselves.”

Matching yachts – True or False?
“I got involved with the aviation industry through yachts-” said Eidsgaard- “We have a number of clients who want clones of their boats or vice-versa. The major difference between the planes and yachts is that the aircraft is usually a business tool whereas the yacht is normally the holiday home.

“Therefore the aesthetics may vary a little as the boat is more for the family. In some cases the client’s partner may have different aesthetic ideas. Where they will have some influence on the boat- sometimes it is less on the plane. In general I would say the aesthetic taste of the owner is very often reflected in both vessels and therefore when we design a boat and plane for a client there is often a common aesthetic language in both.”

Eidsgaard’s expertise is much sought after- and he says his team is working on a number of design concept projects which include a Falcon 900 and Global XRS- Airbus ACJ- BBJ and other wide-body projects. “The projects are with all of the major completions centers- so we’re working with Jet Aviation- Bombardier- Lufthansa Technik – in fact all of them-” concluded Eidsgaard.

More information from www.boeing.com; www.jetaviation.com; www.lufthansa-technik.com; www.andrew-winch-designs.co.uk; or www.eidsgaard.com

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