ACJC Cuts Airbus VIP Cabin Weight

 - May 2, 2013, 2:35 AM
The new ACJC cabin concept features partitions that can switch from transparent to translucent.

The Airbus Corporate Jet Center (ACJC), Airbus’s bizliner completion center in Toulouse, has found ways to cut cabin weight on the ACJ320s and ACJ319s it outfits with luxury interiors. It is also unveiling, this month at the EBACE 2013 show in Geneva, a new cabin concept.

The weight reduction, “on the order of 10 percent, or between 1,100 and 1,500 pounds,” according to CEO Benoît Defforge, was the result of “redesign[ed] furniture fittings,” solutions inspired by serial production (as opposed to customized cabins) and use of lighter composite materials for the furniture itself.

“A decrease in cabin weight is all the more relevant for today’s customers,” Defforge said, as those from Eastern Europe and Asia “need the aircraft’s full range.”

Last year the company completed three aircraft for customers in “Eastern countries.” The first, a wealthy individual, received the ACJC’s first full HDMI-connected cabin. Governments accounted for the other two aircraft, and these customers took delivery of cabins designed by ACJC’s in-house designer, Sylvain Mariat.

This year, the ACJC is planning to deliver four cabins to Middle Eastern customers, three private individuals and one charter operator. The company hired 40 employees last year and intends to hire more this year.

The new Bluejay ACJ319 cabin concept has been inspired by the “avant-gardism, shapes and colors” of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey movie, according to designer Mariat.

A hologram displays guest names at the entrance. The passenger will then see, just after boarding, the highlights of the cabin–multirole partition walls. First, they are made of switchable glass, going from transparent to translucent at the flick of a switch. The cabin arrangement is thus flexible, depending on the time of day; and, depending on the passengers’ mood, the partitions can favor social interaction or privacy.

Second, the partitions act as loudspeakers. They use a technology that makes the glass vibrate like a diaphragm, “providing concert hall-like sound,” according to Mariat.

Refinement in the cabin furniture, monuments and liner comes from “the difference of textures, rather than the use of several colors and opulent materials.” Mariat also worked on “a traditional symbol of travel,” the trunk, evoked by an original piece of furniture using “leather, wood and crystal inserts,” the designer said. The internal padding can protect, for example, a bottle of whiskey and accompanying glasses.

Last, but not least, the U-shaped galley is said to be spacious enough to be called a real kitchen.