Announced today at the Dubai Airshow, Lufthansa Technik is ready to embark on the world’s first head of state cabin onboard an Airbus A350-900. While the fit-out is due to begin in April 2020, Lufthansa Technik says that preparations for the work have already begun at its VIP workshops in Hamburg. Their customer, the German Government, is spending €1.2bn ($1.34bn) on three brand new A350-900s with custom cabins and defense systems to replace its aging A340s.
What can we expect from the German Government A350?
This will be the first A350 to be equipped for a head of state, and Lufthansa Technik describes the aircraft as having a ‘transitional’ cabin. This means it can be tailored precisely to the individual customer’s requirements, but also doesn’t give much away regarding what they have planned.
What they have said that the A350 will have an office space and a spacious conference area. It is also planned to have a multifunctional lounge area and seating for a generous s number of delegates. While the specific number is not disclosed, Lufthansa Technik does point out that the galley and washrooms are adequate for up to 150 guests.
Not only that, but the special jet will be additionally equipped with bespoke features, given the purpose it is intended for. The government has budgeted some €229m ($253m) in the installation of a missile defense system. It will also carry its own stock of spare parts, allowing on the move repairs to take place anywhere in the world.
Wieland Timm, Senior Director Sales, VIP & Special Mission Aircraft at Lufthansa Technik commented in a press release,
“The German Air Force was our very first external customer. We have been equipping its aircraft, including government aircraft, for decades, thus forming a comprehensive partnership. That we have now been asked to support and equip the latest generation of government aircraft as well is a great vote of confidence. With our wide-ranging expertise for the Airbus A350, we are well equipped to meet the high expectations of the new government aircraft.”
Lufthansa Technik has already developed numerous cabin concepts for the A350XWB, and have provided interiors for more than 45 widebody aircraft to date. These range from expansive offices to luxurious bedrooms and world-class conference facilities too. Take a tour of one of their A350 concepts in the incredible video below.
Goodbye to the A340s
The start of the fit-out of the A350 marks the beginning of the end for the German government’s A340s. Currently, Angela Merkel and her team can often be seen deplaning from their two A340-300s, aircraft which have been in service with the Luftwaffe since 2011.
However, these big birds are aging. MSN 274, named the Konrad Adenauer, was the 2,000th Airbus delivery when it started life with Lufthansa in May 1999. Now, at over 20 years old, it has let Mrs. Merkel down more than once, and is ready to be retired. MSN 355, the Theodor Heuss, also worked with Lufthansa before joining the German Air Force, and is over 19 years old.
This will be the first time that the German Air Force has ordered brand new planes from Airbus. Previously it relied on Lufthansa for the supply of large aircraft. However, the investment in new A350s will undoubtedly be money well spent, both in terms of reliability and fuel efficiency of operations.
We can’t wait to see the finished cabins! How about you? Let us know in the comments.