There’s a booming and very lucrative business in transforming popular commercial jets from Airbus and Boeing into a luxury private ride.
If money is no object – and we’re talking in the realm of $200m and up – then the sky is quite literally the limit.
But there’s a big market for smaller aircraft, too: and the smallest member of the Airbus family, the A220, is about to join the private jet set.
Now Dubai-based luxury hotel group Five – whose flagship property is the Five Palm Jumeirah – is turning the A220 into a nimble business jet to shuttle its discerning guests between Five’s growing portfolio of properties around the world.
This private jet version of the A220 is officially dubbed the ACJ TwoTwenty, and is being readied for Five by business aviation specialist Comlux.
While the commercial version of the A220 typically carries up to 135 passengers, Five’s private A220 will host just 18 high flyers when it enters service in early 2023.
They can look forward to cushy solo seats and sofas, a dining table for eight – supported by a full galley kitchen with its own chefs and restaurant-grade equipment – and a ‘cine-lounge’ for enjoying movies and TV shows on a large HD screen.
There will also be a ‘master suite’ with king-size bed and its own ensuite bathroom and shower.
Integrated into the intimate cabin will be LED lighting, electro-chromatic windows which dim at the touch of a button, and high-speed Internet connectivity.
However, Five and Comlux have taken a flexible approach to designing this first ACJ220: the coffee tables extend to become elegant dining spaces, or can be removed completely so there’s even more space for passengers (Five can also supply a DJ and turn the middle of the jet into a dance-floor).
With so few passengers, the ACJ220 can fly non-stop for a solid 12 hours: from the jet’s base in Dubai that puts London, Europe, Africa, Asia and the US west coast all within reach.
“Five aims to provide its diverse and loyal customer base with a unique journey,” the company says. “This jet will fly across the globe, carrying guests in enviable style with an excess of entertainment options.”
A ride of Five’s private A220 is expected to cost guests around US$10,000 – not substantially more than first class on a commercial airline, yet offering far greater convenience, comfort, privacy and exclusivity.
In the words of Five founder and president Kabir Mulchandani, “we can seamlessly organise an exclusive and luxurious lifestyle experience both on the ground and in the air.”
“(The ACJ220) will showcase the best aspects of both private and commercial aviation with one distinctive offering, by fusing together the best-in-class bizjet and Five’s best-in-class hospitality and entertainment.”