Airplane makers lure customers with Chinese-themed interiors
Sophisticated Chinese buyers are putting forward higher requirements on business jets to match their cabin preferences on their flying property, which could create more opportunities in the industry, an aviation executive said.
“We have noticed a growing demand among Chinese corporate jet buyers for tailormade decoration and design, which means a huge market potential in the future,” said Liao Xuefeng, chairman and CEO of China Business Aviation Group.
Liao was speaking at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, which opened in Shanghai on Tuesday.
Corporate jets used to be designed in accordance with Western culture and lifestyle because its main customers were in the United States and Europe. However, after some of the richest Chinese got interested in owning a jet, they found the Western style was not quite what they wanted, said Liao.
Heidi Fedak, senior manager for external communications with Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, said thecompany willadd kettles and rice cookers specifically for Chinese customers in addition to replacing forks and knives with chopsticks.
On average, an interior designer will spend a whole year to communicate with each customerto takenoteof his/her preference on every detail of decoration, added Fedak.
“At the beginning, Chinese business jet customers tended to buy the biggest one with longest range to show their lofty social status, but now they’ve become more rational by looking for business jets that both meet personal and business needs,” said Ron Ho, managing director of Rockwell Collins China, a US-based innovative aviation and highintegrity solutions provider for both commercial and government applications.
As early as March 2011, Airbus SAS proposed a newcabin concept called Phoenix, which featured a gold and red color scheme. In addition, the company also offers options of a karaoke facility and a convertible table for playing cards and Mahjong, said David Velupillai, marketing director of Airbus Corporate Jets.
Similarly, by incorporating the Chinese culture, Brazilian manufacturer Embraer SA offers tailored design series that use Chinese paintings, lucky images of cloud, plum flower as well as Chinese-styled furniture, according to Jay Beever, vice-president of interior design, EmbraerExecutive Jets.
Average cost of decorating a large corporate aircraft, similar to one from Boeing Business Jets, is between $25 million and $40 million and it takes up to three years to finish, said Liao.
We have noticed a growing demand among Chinese corporate jet buyers for tailor-made decoration and design.”