EBACE Convention News

Fokker Touts First VIP Widebody Completion

 - May 19, 2022, 10:00 AM
Completion of the first Airbus A330-300 to be VIP-configured is underway at Woensdrect Airport. (Photo: Fokker)

Netherlands-based Fokker Techniek (Booth Y39) arrived at EBACE amid its first widebody VIP completion project—an Airbus ACJ330-300 for German charter management company K5 Aviation—now underway at its Aviolanda Aerospace Woensdrecht Airport headquarters. This follows Fokker’s 2020 completion and redelivery for K5 of the first ACJ319neo to enter service.

Fokker co-CEO Roland van Dijk said the Dutch company is “extremely excited to show the market that Fokker Techniek can handle widebody conversions.”

And with its completions and conversions segment expanding, the company “will soon implement more changes to keep up with the continuous growth,” he added. “Our order book demands additional workforce and an increase of in-house activities.”

K5 Aviation chose Fokker for the widebody completion after becoming “accustomed to their skills in previous projects,” said Erik Scheidt, the Munich-based company’s managing director and pilot. He further explained that Fokker is “focused on delivering a great end result.”

This will be the first VIP-configured A330-300. Built in 2018 with an airline-configured interior, the twinjet was stored for three years until purchased last June by a private buyer and delivered to K5 in December. Airbus announced the sale in February. Redelivery to K5 is slated for 2024, Fokker’s Robert Koolen told AIN.

With several aftermarket VIP conversions of the A330-200 Prestige model flying, the airframe has already established its suitability for the private market. The -300’s longer fuselage (208 feet versus the Prestige’s 193 feet), offers more than 2,600 sq ft of interior space and will become the canvas for what K5 calls a “modern, stylish design.” Available for charter, the twinjet’s 8,650-nm range can link Europe and Australia nonstop.

With the ACJ330 project in its hangar, the company is doing “three [projects] in parallel,” counting a BBJ refurbishment and a special-missions completion also underway. This attests to Fokker Techniek's robust growth in capabilities since its first completion in 2005, Koolen said. So does the completion performed under contract to Boeing for the Dutch government’s BBJ, PH-GOV, redelivered in June 2019—just after the last-held EBACE.

With the BBJ judged as the best replacement for the line of Fokker aircraft (F27, F28, F70) that long transported the Dutch Royal Family and government officials, Boeing and Fokker teamed on the joint, winning proposal for the completion. For this project, Robin Dunlop, founding partner at Altea, provided the “aesthetic design” and Fokker handled the design engineering, procurement, integration, and certification portions of the aircraft’s 26-passenger Interior.

The modern, functional cabin features a professional business look with Dutch-inspired accents, including the stitching applied in the seats and interior lining panels, an interior palette of Dutch government blue with orange and Delft blue accents, and drawers and closets covered in orange ultra-suede.

Behind the scenes, modern communication, entertainment, cabin management, and environmental systems, along with a unique integrated speaker audio system developed with the University of Twente, ensure en route comfort and productivity. Additionally, lightweight soundproofing and interior materials provide significant cabin noise reduction at an interior weight well below design targets.

Long-range fuel tanks allow nonstop flights to overseas Netherlands territories, and a large-capacity shower in the bathroom lets passengers arrive freshened up. For enhanced interior safety, a Fokker-developed camera system allows crewmembers to monitor the cabin while seated during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

Boeing and Fokker previously partnered to develop the Skyview Panoramic Window for the BBJ, which at 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet would be the equivalent size of three existing 737 windows together, offering “an unparalleled perspective of the world,” in the partners’ words. Plans called for the panoramic window's certification on all BBJ Max models and as retrofits for BBJ and BBJ2 jets. Though development ended before the panoramic window’s planned debut date in 2018, the concept is still alive, Koolen said. “It's something the markets really would like to have.”

The panoramic window would be situated aft of the wing with multiple potential locations available based on the model. “Technically, it still has some challenges and some investments in studies and testing needed,” Koolen said. “That's on our list of innovations that we need to flesh out."

Fokker also arrived in Geneva under new ownership, with Dutch investment company Panta Holdings having acquired Fokker Techniek—and sister company Fokker Services—from Fokker Technologies/GKN Aerospace last April. Panta’s aerospace portfolio includes a majority stake in Canadian-listed airframe components parts and repair service Avcorp Industries and Netherlands Aircraft, a startup developer of a Fokker 100-based regional jet.