Chinese business jet operator Deer Jet unveiled its luxury Boeing 787-8 to the European press just after the Paris Air Show in June. The aircraft left Boeing’s factory in 2014 and underwent more than two-and-a-half years of design and completions work before becoming operational in September last year. Registered in Guernsey, the “Dream Jet,” as Deer Jet has dubbed the aircraft (referencing the airliner-based 787’s Dreamliner name), is operated through subsidiary Hong Kong Jet on behalf of parent company HNA Group. HNA also owns an airline and a chain of hotels and reports assets of $145 billion, $90 billion in annual revenue and 410,000 employees worldwide.
The Paris appearance marked the finale of the 787’s eight-leg “Dreams Encounter the World” tour, which took it to Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Dublin, Doha, Seattle and Marrakech before touchdown at Paris Le Bourget Airport. “At each stage of the tour, we adapted the cabin décor to combine the best of its Eastern heritage with the culture of the place we visited,” said Frank Fang, Deer Jet v-p.
To celebrate the arrival in Paris with flair, Deer Jet appointed the Boeing’s interior with locally designed jewelry and crystal brands such as Puiforcat and Saint-Louis. The Dream Jet’s interior was the work of French designer Jacques Pierrejean, whose résumé includes design work for Emirates, Asiana and Singapore Airlines.
Configured to accommodate up to 30 passengers, the Dream Jet spares no expense in luxury appointments. The entryway has a small crew rest area on the right. The aircraft is normally crewed by four pilots for long missions of up to 18.5 hours and 8,100 nm. Turning left from the main entry door leads to an upholstered corridor to the cockpit. The flight deck is, indeed, the only area on the airplane that looks like that of an airline 787.
Aft in the main passenger cabin, everything is designed for comfort and luxury. The master passenger suite consists of a room with a king-size bed, upholstered walls on one side and shaded exterior windows on the other. The color pallette is soft, with rather creamy colors—white and beige with some deep brown accents, reminiscent of teak wood. The suite has a bathroom with a double sink and a spacious shower. Most important, occupants of this space are promised ambient noise not exceeding 46 decibels (defined by one industrial noise authority as halfway between a library and home in a quiet suburb).
Moving aft past a storage area leads to a large living room and dining area spanning the full 19-foot (5.75-meter) width of the cabin. This main cabin zone constitutes a third of the overall passenger cabin area. A wide divan faces a large-screen video display. There are also eight leather passenger seats. Two more divans face a pair of small tables that extend to become dining tables. With the berthable seating, this area accommodates six passengers for sleeping.
Farther aft is a higher-density cabin zone with 18 business-class leather seats, each berthable to a "full flat" bed. Beyond that is the kitchen area with seating for the service staff.
The target clientele for Deer Jet’s Dream Jet: Fortune 500 companies, Russian oligarchs, Chinese or American billionaires, or even the royal families of the Middle East. Chartering the Dream Jet costs$70,800 per hour. “Our target market is an international clientele, those who enjoy luxury and want to travel under exceptional conditions,” said Fang.
Deer Jet operates 90 business jets, 30 of them wholly owned, and serves 300 customers a year, half of whom are Chinese. The ambition of the Beijing-based company is clear: "We are leaders in our specialty in Asia, and now we want to become a world leader. This aircraft will help us," said Fang.
To that end, Deer Jet ordered a second 787 last year. It is expected to enter service by early next year. Deer Jet owns eight FBOs in China, employing 1,000 people. To strengthen its international presence, Deer Jet acquired two companies last year: UAS International Trip Support, a Dubai-based flight support provider; and Hong Kong-based charter provider Asia Jet.