SR Technics cuts completion costs with off-shelf VIP narrowbody cabin

Zurich
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SR Technics is launching an off-the-shelf interior product for Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies that it says will shave 30% off the typical time for a cabin installation by dumping many of the “habits” of the large-business jet completion industry.

The Zurich-based airline maintenance, repair and overhaul specialist – which entered the business jet completions segment only three years ago – announced it was working on the concept at the EBACE business aviation show in Geneva last year, and will begin promoting it at this May’s event.

The package is based on a semi-flexible, four-zone cabin design, with a large entrance area, walk-through galley, lounge and VIP bedroom and bathroom. Customers will be able to select from three colour styles of pre-engineered furniture, including divans, tables and storage units, rather than complete modules.

Eric Jan, head of interior design, VIP aircraft services at SR Technics, says the product is pitched at a “new generation” of buyer – often young self-made entrepreneurs who seek a simple, functional interior rather than one that is highly-bespoke, making it easier to re-sell the aircraft.

“These customers see their jet as an investment as well as a personal statement,” he says. “We see a lot of aircraft that are stuck [in the secondhand market] because they reflect a specific taste for a specific person.”

SR Technics – which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala – believes it can cut 20% from the average cost of a completion by reducing much of the customised engineering requested for many projects. Most of the “freestanding” furniture will be built outside the aircraft, with a straight aisle wide enough to allow them to be carried through the cabin for installation. This also makes it easier for the layout to be adapted at a later stage.

The product also dispenses with many features common to top-end aircraft, such as in-flight entertainment screens and attendant call buttons. “There are too many functions on business jets which are not used,” says Jan.

“Old-fashioned” elements such as an “isolated” galley are also done away with. “The galley is simply part of the room, just as the owner’s kitchen would be at home,” says Jan. “He will be comfortable walking into it and helping himself to a water or Coke from the fridge.”

SR Technics is keen to establish itself in a growing market for Airbus and Boeing business jet completions that is dominated by fellow Swiss firms AMAC and Jet Aviation as well as Germany’s Lufthansa Technikand a handful of US players. Since establishing its VIP division it has carried out three major completions of widebodies.

However, while the widebody market is dominated by head of state aircraft, business jet versions of Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies are usually purchased by high-net-worth individuals and corporations.