x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

How to get your Boeing 747 just the way you want it

Fitting out your own plane, a Boeing for example, when it just doesn't feel quite right.

Customising an aircraft can cost anyhere from $40 million to $200 million, depending on the size of the plane. Above, a personalised aircraft interior. Jet Aviation Basel and ACA Advanced Computer Art
Customising an aircraft can cost anyhere from $40 million to $200 million, depending on the size of the plane. Above, a personalised aircraft interior. Jet Aviation Basel and ACA Advanced Computer Art

Perhaps you have bought a brand new Boeing 747, but it just doesn’t look quite right.

It needs to be a bit more homely, with a few bedrooms, perhaps, or an office, a lounge – even a library.

Step forward, Jet Aviation.

The Swiss-based firm, which is exhibiting at the Dubai Airshow, creates interiors for both narrow and wide-body planes.

Since launching in 1977, it has done about 200 plane interiors, around 60 per cent of which were for customers in the Middle East, most of them private owners.

“The Middle East is a very important market for us,” said Ruedi Kraft, Jet Aviation’s vice president of sales and market development.

“The majority of the people in the Middle East really want to make their aircraft interiors productive so they can either work or rest. And they have a bedroom because if you have an airplane that can stay airborne for 14 or 15 hours or even more, you would like to have a bedroom, you would like to have a shower and you would like to have areas where you can dine.”

More than 500 craftsmen work at the company’s facility in Basel, creating the interiors from scratch. Depending on the size of the plane, the work can take from nine to 18 months to complete.

The interior of a narrow body plane, like a Boeing 737, could reach US$40 million, while the design and fit-out for a wide body jet, such as the Boeing 747, could cost up to $200m.

Part of the cost is in the detail, said Mr Kraft.

Jet has to be able to certify the design, maintain the plane’s centre of gravity and abide by the civil authority regulations in the country in which the aircraft will be registered. The cost of communications can also be significant.

And then there is the look.

“We take it from an empty fuselage to a complete personal environment like you would in a home. For wide-bodies we have, for sure, one or more bedrooms and we have one master bedroom and maybe smaller bathrooms too with showers. It’s like a flying apartment. There are dining tables. There are sofas to relax,” said Mr Kraft.

“These are the typical things that our customers want.”

gduncan@thenational.ae