Luxury ACJ319 Interior
28 East and K5-Aviation have delivered an elegant, functional and lightweight luxury interior for an ACJ319. Maryann Simson reports.
If private aviation is all about comfort, personal space and freedom of movement, then Airbus’ A320 Family-derived corporate jets could be considered the epitome of this unique experience. Capable of ultra-long range voyages – yet efficient over medium flight distances as well – these advanced machines boast more cabin volume than any other private jet family and set the benchmark high for wide-body VIP luxury.
Though Airbus does – through its own partnerships and completion centres – offer cabin fulfillment to those purchasing a corporate jet; many customers opt instead for an independent, bespoke approach to interior fit-out. This was precisely the case early last year when Munich-based K5-Aviation, provider of long-range aircraft management and charter operation, joined forces with 28 East, a transaction and project management specialist, to outfit a newly delivered ACJ319.
At the end of March 2015, the ACJ319 left the Woensdrecht Fokker Facility in Holland to join K5-Aviation’s growing fleet, which already included two ACJ319s, one Bombardier Global Express and a Bombardier Global XRS.
A few of the most important elements of this aircraft’s stylish cabin are some that passengers may not even be consciously aware of.
“The biggest challenges are often proposed by things you cannot see,” says Luca Madone, Partner at 28 East. “Like our desire to keep the aircraft quiet without making it heavy, for example. I can say Fokker has done an excellent job there. It is an extremely quiet cabin – around 51 decibels in the forward compartments and 49 decibels in the aft compartments.“
Quiet is key to relaxation at work and at rest. Light, cabin altitude and humidity levels also factor broadly into a restorative flight – and on an aircraft capable of flying more than 13 hours consecutively, there is a strong chance that someone will want to sleep.
“We have already had passengers sleeping eight hours in a row in the aircraft,” says Madone. “You never sleep eight hours in the aircraft. It’s typically very dry and you constantly need to drink fluids. But this jet is quiet, very dark [with lights fully dimmed and shades drawn] and humidified. People are fully refreshed when they leave the aircraft.”
Cabin humidity onboard the Luxury Airbus ACJ319 Interior is maintained at a comfortable 22 per cent by advanced technology from a Swedish company called CTT Systems. “The CTT Systems cabin humidification system is absolutely amazing,” says Madone. “A well-humidified cabin, in my eyes, is more important than cabin altitude.”
Trims and Treats
The aircraft boasts fully dimmable LED lighting throughout and strip lighting encircles the cabin at ankle height, showcasing some of the more striking elements. Directional spot-lights or reading lights are present where it makes sense, but you won’t find a rainbow of hues to choose from on this aircraft.
“We don’t change colours,” commented Madone on the decision to omit full-spectrum mood lighting. “Mood lighting looks nice on a static display or in pictures, but the reality is that people don’t really care to have pink or green.”
Like on a commercial aircraft passengers enter through the forward galley – but that’s where the comparison ends. Supplied by Germany’s Diehl Aerosystems (inserts courtesy of Fuchs Aviation), this galley looks as though it’s been plucked from an ultra-modern city featuring wood veneer of rich African ebony.
“You are already standing on our simply amazing Tisca Tiara hand-tufted carpet the moment you enter the aircraft,” says Madone. “So immediately you notice it’s not a normal aircraft. There’s something going on here.”
The Mod Club
The light-coloured carpeting is continued throughout the 24-metre length of this elegant and contemporary space, which is divided into four main areas. Within these areas, changeable cabin configurations reflect the needs and preferences of VIP customers.
The first executive area features six take-off and landing certified seats in cream-white leather by Foglizzo. Each reclines 180 degrees to form a two-metre bed. In VIP configuration, these seats face one another across stowable tables, or they can swivel round to face forward in a more ‘corporate’ arrangement.
The next compartment is a close copy of the first. These areas’ forward zones are separated from two bedrooms by a spacious closet, elegant lavatory (with two full windows, spacious commode and luminous green onyx marble countertops) and curtained partitions. Furniture in both of the sleeping rooms
is engineered for modularity in its most
“The two aft compartments can either be used as lounges with comfortable divan sofas, or as bedrooms. The bedrooms can be made up (by modifying the divans) before departure on the request of the passenger, but he or she can also decide to change it during flight,” Madone explains.
“The change takes about 10-15 minutes for trained cabin attendants. We are certified for take-off and landing with the beds made up. That’s important, because many beds are
The second aft compartment enjoys direct access to a generous lavatory replete with circular shower, bold African ebony, more stunning green onyx, fresh towels, robes and amenities by a leading luxury brand. Passengers can sit on the divans during take-off or landing; and there are six additional passenger seats present between the two aft compartments – making room onboard for 19 passengers in addition to seven cabin crew.
“We did everything on our own, from design to selection of materials. It needed to look good, but it needed to be functional as well. Designer firms often forget about this. The aircraft had to be very, very light so we carefully selected and coordinated with each supplier,” explains Madone.
“Whoever likes a modern cabin and modern design will like this jet. I think this clean, refined type of ambiance is really getting popular, especially with Asian customers and even young people form the Middle East,” he adds. “Their fathers like the gold and veneer, but the young and up-and-comers who have been educated in the West, they prefer something more chic.”
No discussion about a modern VIP jet interior would be complete without a word or two about cabin management systems, inflight entertainment (IFE) and connectivity. For this ACJ319, 28 East selected Germany’s Alster Aero to plan, produce and install all crew and passenger facing cabin systems.
“We selected an integrated system including IFE cabin management and inside communications,” says Erik Scheidt, Partner in 28 East and shareholder at K5-Aviation. “It’s an all in one, purely LAN-based system – which doesn’t need a lot of cabling. The benefit is that it’s extremely lightweight; that was one of the main goals for the aircraft because we want to have the longest possible range.”
The cabin boasts five large monitors, each wired up to the aircraft’s six-terabyte digital server in the electronics bay. Two 42-inch screens and two 24-inch screens are placed for enjoyment in the three forward compartments, while a stunning 55-inch HD display (the largest certifiable for aviation) dominates the rear wall of the aft sleeping compartment.
You won’t see any speakers on this jet, as it’s been outfitted with the absolute latest surround sound system which invisibly pushes Dolby quality audio through the wall panels themselves.
The aircraft was line-fit with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband L-band satellite communications service, supplying flight deck communications as well as an Internet connectivity to the cabin. But SwiftBroadband’s data rate of just 432kbps per channel means the connection speed onboard (which has two channels) is not quite consistent with an on-the-ground experience as yet.
“We see the need to develop the STC for Ku- and Ka-band [frequency satellite communications] so we can connect with around about 10 mbps in the future,” says Scheidt. “They’re working on it and we are going to upgrade the aircraft with a Ku/Ka-band antenna system, most likely at the beginning of next year when it becomes available.”
A 24-inch attendant panel allows all systems to be adjusted and monitored from the forward galley, but passengers are also given several ways to control their environment. The right armrest of each take-off/landing certified seat onboard is embedded with a four-inch digital control panel, plus every seat is equipped with its own USB port and universal 110-volt power outlet for charging or connecting devices to the IFE system. Additionally, there are six iPhones available for guests who wish to use them to surf or make calls.
According to Scheidt, the most popular entertainment feature offered may come as a bit of a surprise.
“Honestly, clients often bring their own PlayStation with them and they ask how to connect it right off the bat. That’s the most important thing. But on this jet we provide them. It’s so nice to see the passengers come onboard and play PlayStation on a 55-inch screen as they lay on a bed at 41,000 feet!”
This VVIP aircraft is now available for charter exclusively through 28 East sister company Vertis Aviation. This is the fifth aircraft Vertis will market on behalf of the Germany-based operator K5-Aviation.