Talk about cross-pollination. Lufthansa Technik released a concept of a VIP jet cabin at this week’s Dubai Airshow that borrows heavily from the superyacht world, down to the name.
The German design firm’s Explorer includes a foldout balcony, similar to many expedition yachts, as well as some wild technology on the interior that could turn the empty space into a disco, gym, or even a “mobility lounge” to transport land vehicles.
“In yachting, multifunctional exploration vessels have now become a class in their own right,” said Wieland Timm, Lufthansa Technik’s head of sales for VIP and Special Mission Aircraft Services. “For this group of world explorers, we’ve created a flying platform for the first time. Our Explorer aircraft allows passengers to travel to the other side of the globe within hours and set up their own individual base camps.”
The design team chose an Airbus A330 as the platform, partly because of its wide-body shape but also because of its range. The current configuration will accommodate 12 passengers, but seating can be expanded for up to 47.
The modular layout allows for extreme customization, ranging from the owner’s area, with a master suite and office, to open spaces in the center lounge area that change completely, depending on the time of day and guests’ wishes.
The designers worked with Diehl Aerospace to create an advanced projection system inset within the walls for the length of the cabin, providing the desired ambiance via virtual content—from blue skies overhead to starlight to a strobe-light-flashing discotheque.
“It brings a variety of atmospheres and virtual worlds to life, changing the overall look of the cabin by a fingertip,” said Michael Bork, Aircraft Interior Architect in VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services at Lufthansa Technik.
The design team also worked with Brabus to create what it calls the “mobility lounge,” which is a space on the lower deck to house automobiles or exploration vehicles if the aircraft is going off-grid. It will have a glass ceiling so that the aircraft’s passengers can look down and see the vehicles.
The multifunction room at the rear of the aircraft can be converted into a gym or hospital room. The foldout balcony in the forward portion of the aircraft is most similar to a superyacht design, folding outwards after the jet lands, and offering views of the surroundings, be it cities or the world’s most remote destinations.