Air Travel

Airbus Puts a Luxury Spin on VIP Helicopters

Airbus finally made it possible to customize your chopper with nearly any amenity imaginable. If you have ever flown on a helicopter, you will know they are quite convenient, yet loud and uncomfortable. However, Europe’s largest aerospace firm Airbus is introducing a new way to provide private owners options for improved style and grace.

An abundancy of Airbus’ helicopters are used for rescue, utility, or transport but few are used for racing or exciting recreation. Typically, the brand’s rotocraft is purchased in a business-to-business context, with no differences for private and business buyers. That is up until now thanks to the introduction of the Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH) brand. Now, corporate and private buyers are able to customize cabin interiors, and according to Robb Report, even exteriors to a degree.

“ACH clients are neither providing a service nor generating revenues from the operations of their helicopter,” says Frederic Lemos, head of ACH. “[The new program] is consumer focused as opposed to the more traditional B2B. Luxury, quality, and amazing experiences are the result of special attention to each detail.”

Before the new brand, Airbus Helicopters clients would choose a predesigned interior from a standard catalogue. With ACH’s new offerings, it is divided into three categories, consisting of Stylence, Exclusive, and Editions. The company’s in-house team created Stylence, which is a prefab offering. Its aesthetic is inspired by lightweight sports cars and is equipped with a racing-stripe paint job and six leather-seat-and-carpet combos. Clients can add as many custom elements as they desire.

The Exclusive line incorporates “a higher level of comfort, soundproofing, luxurious materials, and sophisticated design,” says Lemos. “We work on a ‘match to sample’ concept. [The client] can specify the brand and leather color reference they prefer or even provide us with a nonaeronautical material that we will match with an aeronautical material from our suppliers.”

A particular ACH client desired his helicopter’s flooring matched the decking of his yacht, so the brand derived a teakwood equivalent that resembled the same look and thickness used on the yacht. Another client provided ACH with Hermès leather to apply to specific parts of the cabin, while another wanted to outfit his beauty with a glamourous clock.

It is also noted that not all of the upgrades in the ACH Exclusive line are purely aesthetic. The models are also capable of being equipped with  better sound-proofing, double-glazed windows, electrical footsteps, reclining armchairs, ambient lighting and Bluetooth.

The last category is the ACH Editions, which are reserved for special- edition helicopters created in collaboration with outside brands and designers. The original example of the concept was the ACH145 Mercedes-Benz Style, which showcases a distinctive silver-arrow paint job, a bolder, more aerodynamic-looking front end, and redesigned landing gear.

Airbus is expected to begin deliveries next year which includes the ACH145, ACH130, ACH135, and the new ACH160. Airbus Corporate Jets brand was founded in 1997 to provide an extra level of service for business-jet clients. However, it has now changed thanks to the debut of ACH. Airbus will officially become the only aircraft manufacturer with private and business brands for jets and helicopters.

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