With a new generation of executive airliners coming to market, ABACE 2019 attendees can see exactly what’s going to be in the cabins of tomorrow’s VVIP transports. Put these exhibitors on your short list:
Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ; Chalet 9, SD9) lands in Shanghai as it begins deliveries of its next-generation corporate airliners: the ACJ320 neo, ACJ319 neo, and the widebody ACJ330 neo and ACJ350 XWB. Switzerland’s AMAC Aerospace has taken delivery of the first, purchased by the UK’s Acropolis Aviation, where completion of the Albert Pinto-designed cabin is under way. First delivery of the ACJ319 neo is expected in the second quarter, with Fokker Techniek handling the completion. Type certificate award for the ACJ330 neo is also expected this year.
Airbus is also showcasing in Shanghai its unique position as the only manufacturer to offer both private jets and private helicopters, the latter now available through recently launched Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), a sister firm offering bespoke aircraft and services for the corporate and high-net-worth individual rotorcraft market. “Somebody who might buy a helicopter might also buy a corporate jet and vice versa,” explained Benoit Defforge, ACJ president.
Boeing Business Jets (BBJ; Chalet 6, SD6) is maintaining a quiet presence in deference to the two recent MAX 8 losses. The first BBJ version of the MAX 8 entered completion in February (at Comlux Completion), but is not scheduled to enter service until the fourth quarter. Deliveries of green BBJ Max 8s continue. The good news from the U.S. airframer is the BBJ 777X, introduced at MEBAA in Dubai in December, an executive variant of the upgraded long-hauler, promising the greatest range of any airliner, according to the company. With almost as much floor space as a 747, on one level, the interior provides unprecedented design possibilities, and Boeing has commissioned interior design concepts from Greenpoint Technologies and Jet Aviation.
Swiss VIP airliner services firm Comlux (Booth C619) is celebrating the arrival in February of the first BBJ MAX 8. Installation of the Peter Marino Architect-designed cabin is under way at Comlux Completion, its state-of-the-art, purpose-built completion facility in the U.S. Delivery to the U.S.-based owner is expected by year-end. Two more Max 8s are incoming in 2020, and the arrivals “establish Comlux as an industry leader and innovator in completions on next-generation aircraft,” said Daron Dryer, CEO Comlux Completion. Dryer was appointed CEO this year, and Comlux also further bolstered its management ranks with the appointment of Domingo Ureña-Raso as executive president. Comlux Completion is also highlighting at ABACE its maintenance services for BBJs.
Completions and MRO services provider Fokker Techniek (Booth A543) of the Netherlands will welcome in May the first ACJ319 neo for its cabin installation, performed for owner/operator K5-Aviation. The completion project is focused on minimizing interior weight to maximize range and payload, determined by “how we build the monuments, how we construct a lot of the filling compounds, and special techniques and attention to reducing weight throughout,” said Johan van Dorst, Fokker’s sales director.
Fokker, an Airbus Approved Outfitter and Boeing Recommended Center, has resurrected its completion and refurbishment services in the wake of its 2015 acquisition by GKN Aerospace.
Greenpoint Technologies (Booth C713) is showcasing its Boeing-commissioned Lotus VVIP interior design concept for the BBJ 777X, inspired by the lotus flower and Asian Pacific cultures, and sure to find resonance among regional customers. The design incorporates celestial and organic elements in combination with contemporary, functional interior luxuries of a world-class hotel, including a grand, circular entryway; elevated lounge; sunken media area and layered ceiling with adjustable LED starry night scene; and backlit bar. The master suite features a king-size bed, walk-in dressing room and en suite bath with oversized rain shower, heated black marble flooring, towel warmers, and black marble vanity with embedded monitor. American walnut, Calcutta Gold marble, chrome, white embossed leather, and silk and Italian woven wool carpeting are incorporated throughout the cabin.
The U.S.-based BBJ completion specialist is also displaying its Azure interior design concept for the 787 Dreamliner, brought to life in a 1/20th scale model of the aircraft at Greenpoint’s display.
Marking its 30th anniversary, North America’s Flying Colours Corp. (Booth A639) is highlighting at ABACE the expansion of cabin interior refurbishment services at its facility at Singapore’s Seleatr Airport. The Bombardier completion and MRO specialist has now performed four full and three partial interior refurbishment projects on Challenger and Global jets for Asian and Middle Eastern customers, most recently a Global XRS refurb for a China-based customer, in conjunction with extensive maintenance. The growing call for refurbishments “exemplifies the change in demand from the maturing Asia and Middle East markets, as savvy owners and operators recognize the benefits of acquiring preowned aircraft,” said Paul Dunford, gm at Flying Colours Corp. PTE, the Seletar facility.
Aloft AeroArchitects (Booth A725) arrives in ABACE following recent delivery of a new BBJ2 to a private company in Asia, featuring an Edése Doret interior and Honeywell Ka-Band connectivity. The U.S. company is now refurbishing a BBJ, replacing the interior the U.S. company installed 12 years ago. Warja Borges of Germany’s Unique Aircraft designed the new cabin. Aloft is the exclusive provider of auxiliary fuel systems for BBJs, which include new, enhanced AFS tanks and LRUs to maximize fuel capacity and speed ground fueling.
Ameco Beijing (Booth B335), a joint venture between Air China (75 percent) and Lufthansa Technic (25 percent), is known in the commercial aviation world for its MRO services, but at ABACE the spotlight is on it VIP and business jet services. These cover processes from design, engineering, and certification to installation, modifications, and maintenance. Ameco has a hangar dedicated to business jet services in Beijing.
China’s Haeco Private Jet Solutions (Booth B623) arrives at ABACE 2019 on the heels of signing a collaboration agreement with an Asian ultra-high-end hospitality and design firm, in addition to recent enhancements of its MRO capabilities. Under the design partnership, Haeco and the luxury firm will jointly develop conceptual designs for cabin interiors, “expanding Haeco’s ability to deliver bespoke, luxurious, and sophisticated cabins to private jet owners,” the company said.
The only Airbus-approved and Boeing-licensed cabin completion center in Asia-Pacific, Haeco has experience in Ku-band satcom connectivity, cabin Wi-Fi systems, and inflight entertainment systems upgrades.
In Shanghai, Haeco is highlighting its dedicated customer support and tailored one-stop solution: early stage conceptual and industrial design, design engineering, certification, strategic procurement, workshop support, installation, and after-sales support.
Metal finishings specialist Signature Plating (Booth A341) returns to ABACE on the heels of adding a new process—plating on plastics—to its in-house capabilities, providing significant weight saving opportunities. High-quality metal plating is a staple of VIP cabin interiors, and many metal parts with decorative finishes can now be replaced by plastic parts, “reducing the weight in some cases by half, and that equates into significant fuel savings,” said Zane Leake, v-p of sales at the U.S. company.
Parts that could be replaced by plastic include headrest bezels; seat adjustment levers and the recessed seat bezels they’re often set in; placards; surrounds that border electronics switches; PSUs and gaspers; and light trim. “We’re looking at anything that’s not structural,” Leake said.