It’s all about the cabin—that’s where most customers spend their time onboard, and where OEMs and MRO’s spare no expense or effort in crafting their state-of-the-art interiors for new and refurbished business aircraft. The results are on view inside the airplanes on static display here at EBACE 2017, and within Palexpo, where the companies and people who create these exquisite environments are showcasing design, installation and modification products and services. From the largest completion centers to bespoke purveyors, attendees have access to the entire world of aircraft interior stylings and expertise.
Switzerland’s Comlux Aviation (Booth V96) is celebrating delivery of the first EASA-certified executive-configured cabin in a Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ), designed, engineered and installed by Comlux America, its U.S. narrowbody completion center. The 19-passenger execliner features a contemporary corporate interior with a VIP area in the forward cabin anchored by a club-four seating area across from a side-facing sofa, and an executive section with 15 first class seats behind. The SBI, the executive version of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, is owned by Kazakhmys Corporation in Kazakhstan.
To ensure meeting the interiors needs and preferences of tomorrow’s customers, Comlux America recently teamed with four key industry designers—Alberto Pinto Design, DesignQ, Unique Aircraft and Winch Design—to develop multiple interior decor and floorplan concepts for the next-generation narrowbody interiors, specifically the Airbus ACJ neo and the BBJ Max 8. The goal, Comlux said, is to gather perspectives and concepts that capture the different cultures, styles and tastes of potential VIP customers, and create “concept books” to help customers, when planning completions. Comlux representatives can update attendees on the all-star designer interior concepts here at the show. Meanwhile, Comlux has signed two new major refurbishment projects: a BBJ and a Global 6000, both for repeat customers in Asia.
Germany’s Lufthansa Technik (LHT; Booth J79) has just completed a VIP interior installation in a new Airbus ACJ319 in cooperation with Hermès, the Parisian design house known for its expertise in made-to-measure accessories. The interior, crafted by Lufthansa Technik's VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services Division for an undisclosed customer from the Greater China region, features a spacious dining and lounge area, master bedroom/office, and fully equipped master bathroom with a large shower. The 19-passenger jet’s club seats and divans were designed and upholstered by Hermès' craftsmen, and the aft cabin bulkhead and curtains feature Hermès fabric.
The collaboration, and the use of highly refined interior elements, is emblematic of industry trends, and much in evidence here in Geneva. F.List (Booth T110) is displaying real stone and wood floorings, whose use in business aircraft the Austrian interiors parts provider pioneered. F.List is the industry’s sole manufacturer of stone and wood cabin flooring with integrated heating, combining the natural materials and heating system in a space-saving, lightweight flooring product. Also here is sister company F.List Germany (Booth Y134), based at Airport Berlin–-Schoenefeld, which specializes in aircraft interior and exterior refurbishment.
Inairvation (Booth J79), is another example of the industry’s collaborative trends and the advances it’s promoting. A joint venture between LHT and F.List, Inairvation creates unique cabin solutions including IFE, CMS, lighting and seating systems, both for OEM and aftermarket applications. Some of Inairvation’s solutions have already been deployed by MROs displaying here.
Canada’s Flying Colours (FC; Booth P106), among the aftermarket pioneers in using carbon fiber in cabin refurbishments (first applied in a Bombardier Challenger 850 makeover), arrives at EBACE on the heels of delivering the first cabin refurb incorporating Inairvation’s pre-engineered carbon fiber components. The interior was installed in a 2003 Global Express, owned by the same individual whose Challenger 850 got the first carbon fiber interior from FC. “Using these pre-engineered components in conjunction with a bespoke design reduces down time and cost for the owner/operator,” said Eric Gillespie, FC executive vice-president. A second deal to use these components is in advanced discussions, he said. Gillespie described the current refurbishment market as “exceptionally buoyant.”
Duncan Aviation (Booth G88) in now the exclusive U.S. distributor of Inairvation’s Integrated Smart Cabin Upgrade for Gulfstream 450 and 550. This custom-fit modular solution features a Lufthansa Technik nice HD CMS package that gives the cabin a new, fresh look with advanced functionality, Duncan said. The pre-engineered smart-cabin upgrade retrofit replaces the out-of-production factory-installed CMS. Duncan also recently completed the interior refurbishment of a Global Express.
To serve other aviation firms looking for help with completion and refurbishment certifications, Duncan recently made its Engineering & Certification Services available for projects throughout the aerospace industry. In the last four years, Duncan’s Engineering & Certification team has completed 11 new and amended STCs for external customers, said Mike Minchow, Duncan vice-president of Service Sales.
It's not just cosmetics and comfort that benefit when completion and refurbishment specialists work their magic. Swiss full service provider Jet Aviation (Booth R134) recently performed a completion on an ACJ330 at its Basel Completion Center that incorporates high-end finishes and, as a result of its weight management processes, yielded a “significantly lighter” aircraft than the customer required, making this “the longest range VIP A330 completed to date,” said Matthew Woollaston, vice-president, Completions Sales and Marketing.
Here at the show, Jet Aviation has a complement of completion specialists equipped with the company’s proprietary JetVision app for tablet-based 3D presentations, which include its latest ‘Limitless’ design video. The presentation “captures the essence of the cabin completions process, from design through to installation and re-delivery,” said Woollaston. Attendees can upload the app and presentations to their own devices for later viewing.
Jet Aviation's Basel Completions Center recently took delivery of the first of two green BBJ 777-300ERs for completions commissioned by Boeing on behalf of an Asian government, representing the company’s first BBJ 777 head-of-state completion project, while green completions of a BBJ1 and an ACJ330-200 for Chinese customers commenced late last year.
Even brand new, fully completed aircraft often undergo interior modifications and upgrades, as “some customers change their mind on certain elements of the interior design shortly before, or during, factory delivery,” said Robin Freigang, Director Cabin Interior Services & Design for full-service Swiss MRO Ruag Aviation. He could be speaking for all quality completion and refurbishment specialists in saying, “Our services provide a certain flexibility to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) assembly line.”
Ruag just performed the interior refurbishment and custom reconfiguration of a new India-registered Global 5000, in consultation with Bombardier. An added divan replaced single seats, and after consulting Ruag’s cabin design showroom team, the customer opted to restyle a variety of interior furnishingsThese include modifications to the existing window shades for improved cabin darkening, and upgraded IFE and connectivity systems, Freigang said. Work was done at the company’s Bombardier Authorized Service Center in Munich under Ruag’s EASA Part 21J Design Organization authorization (DOA). This illustrates the customized interior modifications and restyling solutions the company is showcasing here, Freigang said, whether for a full completion or refurbishment, or upgrades to IFE, lighting, furnishings, soft goods, leathers, fabrics, or carpeting.
Textron Aviation (Booth V22 – like the company’s Osprey Tiltrotor), parent of Cessna, Beechcraft and Bell helicopters, is putting new emphasis on cabin interiors as it expands into longer range jets. Its super-midsize Citation Longitude (the largest jet Cessna has built to date) is set to enter service later this year, and first flight of its even larger, in-development large-cabin Hemisphere is expected in 2019. Textron is bringing all previously outsourced completion capabilities, like cabinetry and seat making, in-house to better control quality, said Christi Tannahill, Textron’s senior vice-president of Interior Design and Engineering. Textron representatives here at the show can explain what the changes mean for customers.
Greenpoint Technologies (Booth L71), Boeing wide-body completion specialist, arrives in Geneva fresh from earning design honors for its Azure executive interior for a Boeing 787-9, bestowed by the Seattle Design Center in the Exotic Retreats category. The cabin design reflects “the freedom of artistry, engineering and innovation,” said Greenpoint Design Director, Annika Wicklund. A 777-200 LR interior Greenpoint designed for Crystal AirCruises is also under consideration for honors, according to the company. The U.S. firm also recently won contracts for 787-8 and -9 head-of-state interiors for an undisclosed customer. Greenpoint has more than 300,000 hours of engineering design and development experience on the revolutionary composite 787 airframe, according to Bret Neely, Greenpoint’s executive vice-president.
Boeing-approved completion center Aeria Luxury Interiors, a division of VT San Antonio Aerospace and U.S. affiliate of ST Aerospace, offers design, engineering, fabrication, installation and certification services for executive- and head-of-state-configured aircraft. Aeria is showcasing these capabilities at its display (Booth K46). The company also boasts heavy maintenance capabilities for large transport-category aircraft, which can be performed concurrently with a total cabin refurbishment and system upgrades, including IFE and communication systems. Combining the work can save owners considerable downtime and expense.
MRO services provider ACC Columbia Jet Service (Booth S98), based at Cologne Bonn Airport, is putting the spotlight on the work performed by its Interior Shop ACJ Ambiente craftsmen, including upholstery on seats, sidewalls and dado panels over leather refurbishments, repairs and repainting of cabin interior parts, carpet replacements, and veneering and varnishing of all wooden surfaces.
Germany’s Aircraft Cabin Modification (Booth M50) a Part 145 maintenance organization, specializes in developing, producing and overhauling entire cabin interiors, as demonstrated in its recent overhaul of a Bombardier Challenger 604 for a Middle Eastern customer. Six ACM technicians performed the refurbishment in six weeks.
Fokker Services of the Netherlands, a Boeing-recommended center, is showing its complete range of aerospace products and services and turnkey solutions for VIP aircraft. Fokker is developing, with Boeing Business Jets, the SkyView Panoramic window for new and retrofit installations on the OEM’s eponymous executive airliners. The window was introduced here at EBACE in 2015, and here at Fokker’s display (Booth H82), attendees can get an update on the program, expected to enter service on the BBJ Max in 2018.
L-3 Technologies (Booth Y60) includes narrow- and wide-body completions among its extensive portfolio of aviation services. The U.S. firm’s VIP and Head-of-State Completion Center provides design, fabrication, installation, certification & post-delivery support services. A Boeing-recognized center, L-3 has completed more than 50 widebody and business jets over two decades. Another U.S. completion specialist, Sierra Completions (Booth B66), can design and engineer interiors using cutting-edge systems and technologies to create an “office in the sky,” according to the company.
The show also features producers and purveyors of custom carpeting and fabrics, leathers and linens, furnishings and other accessories that elevate aircraft cabins to the pinnacle of comfort, quality and luxury.
The UK’s Carter Green Aerospace (CGA; Booth K117), European sales agent for Scott Group Studio, is showcasing the U.S. carpeter’s new Aviation Volume 17, Aerial Collection of custom handcrafted carpeting. CGA’s Michelle Hanger is at the booth to discuss attendees’ VIP interior design projects.
Many yacht owners also own jets, and Boutsen Design (Static SD02) can help outfit both now. The cabin furnishings and accessories arm of the Monaco-based aircraft brokerage Boutsen Aviation is already Bulgari’s exclusive international distributor to the private aviation industry. In April, Bulgari named the company as its exclusive agent for the yachting world, as well.
Switzerland’s Tisca Tiara mobility textiles (Booth M118) offers a wide range of premium quality carpets, fabrics and curtains in harmonized designs and colors for complete cabin interior furnishing. The selection includes hand-tufted, hand-woven, and embroidered materials for carpeting, sidewalls, curtains, headrests and other interior applications. A wide range of collections is available in stock, ready for immediate shipment. Customized products can be manufactured with short lead times, created by Tisca Tiara’s in-house design and development department.
Townsend Leather (Booth T094), U.S. manufacturer of high performance aircraft upholstery leather, specializes in the dyeing and finishing of the finest European hides. The company is highlighting its in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, which give it “complete control over yield, quality, and adherence to strict testing to meet exact customer requirements,” according to the company. Townsend’s wide range of in-stock and custom colors, finishes, and embossings offer 3M Scotchgard Leather Protector as well as aftermarket care solutions.