Lufthansa Technik’s Airbus A220 SkyRetreat concept offers a brand-new take on the private jet, with an open-plan cabin layout and a forward-facing observation deck. Lufthansa is testing the waters at the Dubai Air Show because it believes there may be enough demand to turn the concept into reality.
Lufthansa Technik previewed its SkyRetreat concept earlier this year, and it really offers a completely new take on the private VIP jet.
Based on the Airbus A220, Airbus’s smallest airliner, Lufthansa’s SkyRetreat concept is very different to your standard private jet interior. It looks more like a private superyacht or a hotel suite.
How is SkyRetreat different to other private jets?
In comparison to private yachts, private jets are a lot more restricted by the physical limitations of the platform. Not only do aircraft have to meet much higher safety standards, they are also (usually) smaller and only produced by a handful of manufacturers.
But even just looking at the mock-ups for the SkyRetreat concept, it’s immediately obvious that it’s very different to your standard private jet. The main selling point and focal feature of SkyRetreat is its ‘observation deck’ which offers forward facing views out of the cockpit.
Since the post 9/11 tightening of regulations, an airborne view out of the cockpit has become a very rare sight for most of us. And it’s likely to stay that way too. Lufthansa Technik has confirmed that the SkyRetreat would only be viable for private aircraft.
To provide space for passengers to sit behind the pilots, Lufthansa Technik has moved the cockpit bulkhead backwards behind door one.
Besides the ‘observation deck’, the rest of the SkyRetreat’s cabin space is also very different to your standard private jet. The main cabin is remarkably open plan. The concept drawings show multiple, large sofas with minimalist interior decoration and fittings.
On the SkyRetreat concept website, Lufthansa Technik describes its approach to the interior design, saying, “It calls for a reduction to the essential, thereby cleverly and discreetly integrating latest cabin technologies.”
Will the SkyRetreat concept become reality?
While SkyRetreat was first unveiled as a concept, Lufthansa Technik has since revealed that it could become reality if there is sufficient demand. As there is high demand for private jets in the Middle East, the Dubai Airshow is an important opportunity for Lufthansa Technik to gauge the response to the SkyRetreat.
Speaking at the Dubai Air Show, Lufthansa Technik’s head of sales VIP and special mission aircraft, Wieland Timm, said, “There is huge potential here because of the customer change in the market.”
The Middle East has been a hotspot for private jets for many years now. But there are many larger types out there which can be converted into private jets. So why has Lufthansa Technik opted to base its refit concept on Airbus’s smallest jet?
Timm believes that there’s been a change in demand in recent years.
“There is a younger generation getting more wealth who are going to be attracted to more modern types, with roomier interiors and fewer small rooms. Those are who our concept is aimed at,” he said.
Lufthansa Technik has not yet been able to respond to Simple Flying’s request for comment on SkyRetreat.