In the world of large-cabin business jets, there are Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) and Boing Business Jet—and then there’s everybody else.
These are not the fastest or highest flying aircraft, but there is no question they redefine the meaning of ‘office in the sky’ and, in some cases, the sky’s-the-limit opulence achievable according to a customer’s personal preferences (and imagination). After all, they are highly customized derivatives of passenger jets flown by many of the world’s major airlines.
In its quest to deliver the ultimate travel experience for owners and passengers of the ACJ320neo, Airbus Corporate Jets has developed a fresh approach to cabin interior design inspired by curves found in nature. Airbus calls its highly stylized approach Melody.
At the recent National Business Aviation Association conference and exhibition, Airbus introduced a new cabin concept for its A320neo (New Engine Option). Called Melody, the design features flowing lines inspired by naturally occurring curves, such as hilly horizons and desert dunes.
These flowing lines are represented in both the main pathway through the airplane’s cabin and the curved walls of zones within it. The approach also focuses on an environment that is quieter and better adapted to providing sound and vision in a home cinema setting.
Airbus made extensive use of some of the latest technologies used in commercial and military aviation, such as weight-saving carbon fiber, in tables and cabinets and greater use of wi-fi. With a lighter cabin, Airbus was able to increase the range. In fact, both the ACJ320neo and the smaller ACJ319neo feature next-generation engines and wing tip sharklets for improved aerodynamics.
In addition to longer range, operators can expect to benefit from a 16% reduction in fuel consumption, according to an Airbus Corporate Jet official. The ACJ320neo can fly 25 passengers 6,000 nm or more than 13 hours, while the ACJ319neo can transport eight passengers 6,750 nm or more than 15 hours.
There are six firm orders for the Melody-outfitted version of ACJ320neo, equally split between corporations, governments and high net worth individuals. At the NBAA trade show, Airbus won a new commitment for an ACJ320neo from an undisclosed customer that includes turnkey cabin outfitting—a first for the new ACJneo family of jets. Deliveries are on track to begin at the end of 2018. More than 180 Airbus corporate jets are in service around the world.
A green ACJ—meaning one that hasn’t been painted and whose interior hasn’t been completed to customer specifications—can be produced within a year from the time an order is placed. “It’s a challenging market for everyone in this space,” said an Airbus official.