New Airbus cabin concept has a license to thrill

1135
May 29, 2018
Airbus thrill harmony cabin
The lounge in the Harmony cabin. Photo: Airbus.

All that’s missing is a James Bond supervillain and a white cat  —  Airbus already has in place a  holographic globe that can be used to telegraph a dastardly plan to the British superspy before seeing it thwarted at the 11th hour.

Welcome to Airbus Corporate Jet’s new Harmony cabin, a swirling concept that could fit easily into the world of arch-villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his vodka Martini-loving nemesis.

This is not a cabin designed for the hoi polloi, but for those with the significant wherewithal to allow them to leave behind the tighter confines of traditional business jets for the luxury of a widebody.

Originally designed for ACJ330neo family, it can also be used on other widebodies such as the ACJ350 XWB.

Neither aircraft is cheap —  the 2018 list price for an A330-900neo passenger version is $296.4 million — but what you get is space and range.

Read: Airbus and Zodiac to develop sleeper cargo berths.

Airbus puts the range of the 58.82m-long plane, which has new fuel-efficient engines and aerodynamic tweaks such as sharklets, at 17,400km with a passenger load of 25.

The company says this means the aircraft can fly “nonstop to the world”

The manufacturer’s new concept adds some 007 pizzazz with concentric circles designed to emulate the ripples in a pond.  It says this and widebody benefits such as space, comfort and quietness produce “a consistently harmonious customer experience”.

“Harmony is a timeless and elegant design concept because we dare to break the conventions that are traditionally imposed on us as cabin designers,’’ says ACJ head of creative design Sylvain Mariat. “Our creativity needs to be unique to fit the needs of our customers, as befits a host receiving their guests in their ‘world above the world’.’’

The holographic globe shows the aircraft’s position as passengers enter, with a master bedroom, office and bathroom to the left.

Airbus harmony cabin thrill
The holographic globe. Photo: AIrbus.

 

The spacious lounge has seating grouped at round tables designed to encourage social interaction with a conference table at the back.

Behind that are four VIP suites, offices which convert into a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and shower.

Seating for support staff and a galley make up the rear of the cabin, which can be adapted to serve both private and government customers.

The company has more than 190 corporate jets in service on every continent, including Antarctica, but it is not the only manufacturer offering bigger business jets.

Rival Boeing Business Jets announced this week it had so far won four new orders this year after selling 16 jets in 2017.

Boeing said two of the new orders this year are for the single-aisle BBJ MAX, adding to a backlog of 19 aircraft.

Based on the new 737 MAX passenger plane, the BBJ MAX delivers 14 percent better fuel efficiency thanks to advanced engines and improved aerodynamics.

The aircraft is capable of flying 7,000 nautical miles (12,964 km) and features a lower cabin altitude, bespoke interiors and 787-style flight deck displays.