|alice-photo/iStock /Getty Images Plus/Getty Images|
by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, October 5, 2016
Ordinarily Boeing 787 Dreamliners serve as commercial aircraft that carry between 240 and 335 passengers, but in a world first one of the planes has been transformed into a 40-passenger private jet so spacious and well-equipped that it resembles an airborne penthouse apartment.
Developed by Kestrel Aviation Management, an American aviation asset manager that specialises in airliner and corporate aircraft acquisition, sale, modification and financing, this one-of-a-kind Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) has been dubbed the Dreamjet. The privileged few who get to step aboard can expect an in-flight experience worlds away from that offered on a typical Boeing.
With its interiors co-developed by yacht and aircraft design specialists Pierrejean Design, the plane is intended to serve as a sanctuary - particular attention was given to how the space would stimulate each of the senses. To ensure passengers' senses of smell and taste weren't unduly challenged, the team considered air distribution and filtration and segregated zones with hard and soft barriers; for touch, innovative, tactile materials were used to create a "luxuriously organic" setting finished with flowing lines and the absence of sharp edges.
Features aboard include high domed ceilings, hardwood floors, sculptured hardwood doors and hand-tufted carpets with silk accents. Tablets control lighting, video monitors, audio, window shades and flight-attendant requests. Among the segregated zones on board will be an entertainment and study lounge that accommodates 16, dedicated dining spaces, en suite master bedroom with 42-inch television, dressing room and a vast hotel suite-quality bathroom with shower.
Though the company is unable to reveal the individual who commissioned the BBJ, it was purchased by an Asian client and has been in development since 2009. Kestrel worked directly with Boeing on the project from 2011 and 2013 and the plane was unveiled at this year’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva. The aircraft has a 9,800 nautical mile range and can fly for over 17 hours non-stop.
While the project was entirely novel, Kestrel Aviation Management has much experience in ambitious aircraft conversions. Its customer base includes major international airlines, UHNW individuals, financial institutions, airplane manufacturers and governmental bodies and so far the company has been involved in the purchase or sale of over 300 commercial aircraft, with a combined value of over $50 billion.
Details about this new endeavour come at a time of significant innovation within the premium aviation sector as a whole.
Until now known only for its seafaring tours, Crystal Cruises has announced that it is to launch Crystal Aircruises, an elegantly styled Boeing 777-200LR that will feature a 24-person dining room where meals are prepared by a dedicated chef, a bar and a first-class seating area where fully lie-flat seats are transformed into comfortable beds with mattress toppers, plush duvets and blankets. The plane will be used by groups enjoying themed 14-, 21- or 28-day round-the-world itineraries.
Seattle-based TCS World Travel, meanwhile, officially launched in the UK last year and has expanded its portfolio of round-the-world private-jet trips to include Sea.Sky.Safari itineraries incorporating short cruises offered in partnership with Seadream Yacht Club.
Last year, Four Seasons launched the hotel industry’s first fully branded private jet . Passengers on multi-week itineraries enjoy access to a range of attractions and privileged experiences, and stay at Four Seasons hotels along the way. In the early 2020s, meanwhile, American companies Spike Aerospace and Aerion both plan to launch commercial supersonic flights.
This article was written by Telegraph Luxury Travel Editor and John O'Ceallaigh from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.