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Private Jet Interior Design: Q&A with the Experts!

By Michael "Doc" Dwyer

September 8, 2022

Aircraft ownership is on the rise, and as a result, completion centers that offer private jet interior design are in equally high demand.

The current demand for design and refurbishment is high for two reasons. First, it’s challenging to buy a brand-new jet because of the long lead time until delivery of the aircraft. This wait can be up to 3 years.

Secondly, pre-owned jets are often in limited supply. As a result, you may be left with purchasing an aircraft that doesn’t meet your every need (but it does meet your budget).

That said, you can design your perfect interior. When you buy a pre-owned aircraft with Guardian Jet, we’ll provide you with an array of refurbishment resources.

One of those resources is International Jet Interiors (IJI), which offers very high-quality aircraft completion solutions. In our experience, engineers of this caliber are equal parts artists, craftsmen, and aviation experts. Whether you want to upgrade to add value or customize to your taste, Guardian Jet and our network of specialists will ensure a smooth process from start to a stylish finish.

So how does a jet owner go about approaching such an interior redesign project?

To help us answer some essential questions regarding jet interiors, we reached out to Eric Roth, the President of IJI. And, of course, we are also sharing insights from our own aircraft sales experts.

 

Best Jet Interior Design

BEFORE - Guardian Jet Purchased This Gulfstream G450 For A Client

Best Jet Interior Design - Before and After

AFTER - Gulfstream G450 Completion by International Jet Interiors

Questions Re: Private Jet Interior Design 

Q. What does a typical jet refurbishment entail?

A. As can be expected, the range of design considerations in such a project is nearly limitless. Also, the word “refurbishment” is a very broad term. It may mean “replacing the carpet” to one person, or a “completely new floorplan and total revamp” to another. 

Roth explains that refurbishment targets may include: “Interior ‘soft goods,’ such as carpets, seat covers, and curtains. It can also involve cabinetry, upholstery, seating reconfigurations, connectivity, avionics upgrades, custom paint jobs, and more.”

At Guardian Jet, we have seen some fleet owners prefer consistency across their aircraft, while others like unique touches to each one. Although every project is different, a designer will provide direction on lasting trends and their applicability to your aircraft model.

 

Q. Where do I begin my search for private jet interior designers? What are the recommended aviation refurbishment companies I might consult with?

A. Going directly to the aircraft’s manufacturer is always a good starting point. The OEMs often have a wealth of references and information regarding the upgrade of their jets. 

Additionally, we recommend contacting a handful of specialized jet redesign companies. They include International Jet Interiors, based on Long Island, New York; Duncan Aviation, with branches located throughout the U.S.; and West Star Aviation, also with numerous locations throughout the country. 

In Roth’s opinion, it takes at least a decade of experience in private aviation to be considered a highly qualified aircraft interior designer. “That’s because one must learn the details and regulations of various disciplines: Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), structural engineering, materials, color, texture, aircraft performance, etc."

Roth also notes that aircraft owners appreciate working with a completion facility that offers in-house design and engineering. As well as those who have access to dedicated shops for the disciplines outlined in the refurbishment. "This attention to detail ensures the finest, most effective and professional outcome," he said. 

Roth went on to explain that the ability to oversee the entire project allows for a far superior completion experience. "We can offer on-the-spot modifications and/or adjustments, which leads to an essentially squawk-free, on-time, on-budget delivery," he said. Working with a credible industry expert and a trusted company is pivotal to the success of the aircraft upgrades and always apparent in the lasting value of the finished product.

G450 Refurbished Interior by International Jet Interiors

G450 Refurbished Interior by International Jet Interiors

  

Q. What should be considered when initiating a jet interior redesign? What do the design experts recommend as ‘do’s & don’ts’?

A. First, keep it simple! A direct and to-the-point design plan will help you maintain focus. It’s amazing how impactful just a few updates can make. Plan on using neutral colors for larger design aspects. Easily interchangeable elements, such as décor, are where you can show your flair.

Also, something as simple as monogramming seats could make for a necessary upholstery redo when selling your aircraft. Consider if this detail justifies both the initial and the replacement cost prior to reselling. We suggest you apply the same practicality to other aspects of redesign.

When specifying your design, just remember that the further you move from the status quo, the less likely a prospective buyer will love your aircraft “as is.”

 

Q. What is the typical refurbishment turnaround time, from start to finish?

A. Starting with the pre-planning stage of a project, design firms will offer a comprehensive, process-driven approach to meet a timely delivery.

According to Roth, “Generally speaking, a ‘soft goods’ refurb will take six to 10 weeks on a large aircraft (less time for smaller aircraft).  On the other hand, a complete refurbishment usually takes 14 to 16 weeks of downtime.” This includes soft goods, woodwork, metal plating, paint, cabin management systems, satellite communications, wi-fi, etc.

To put it in perspective, these timeframes pale in comparison to the lead time for new aircraft. This is yet another reason why pre-owned redesigns are often a great choice to meet your current mission.

 

Q. What about price? How much does it cost to redo the interior of a large private jet?

A. Interior design costs will vary widely, based on the scope and degree of your redesign. Every quote will be refined to determine whether the project requires installation of a whole new interior including wood finish, or if it is limited to soft goods.

Pricing also depends on the materials. For example, Indian silk carpets will cost substantially more than wool carpeting.

Say, for instance, you want to update a pre-owned ultra-long-range jet. At Guardian Jet, we track estimated costs in our client portal, The Vault. Our Vault estimates show that you can expect to pay around $200,000 to recover seats with new leather. Meanwhile, it’ll cost you about $40,000 - $90,000 to replace the carpet. To refinish the woodwork, expect to pay $300,000 to $500,000.

Additionally, within the Vault, you can learn more about ownership costs by researching inspection schedules, maintenance programs, upgrades, and more.

Refurbished Galley by International Jet Interiors

G450 Refurbished Galley by International Jet Interiors

 

Q. On average, how many pre-owned jets sold each year will undergo some level of refurbishment? Does it depend on aircraft size and type?

A. Experience leads us to believe that at least 65 percent of pre-owned, large-cabin aircraft will undergo some level of refurbishment.

“Since these jets are generally a higher asset value (compared to most mid-size aircraft), it is usually easier to justify a refurbishment investment,” says Roth. “At International Jet Interiors, the focus remains on large cabin class aircraft, such as Falcons, Gulfstreams, and Globals.”

Another consideration for refurbishment is obviously aircraft condition, given the market’s supply and demand. 

 

Q. Are OEMs picking up some of the refurb demand and expanding their own interior redesign options?

A. Although the OEMs do capture a percentage of the refurbishment marketplace for pre-owned aircraft, they generally focus on the “newer” pre-owned aircraft. And, in most cases, are not as financially competitive as MRO facilities and completion centers.

Refurbished Upholstery and Woodwork by International Jet Interiors

G450 Refurbished Upholstery and Woodwork by International Jet Interiors

 

Q. Let’s say that I need a quick sale. Which areas of my luxury jet should I update?

A. Seats, carpet and exterior paint would be the easiest, most cost-effective cosmetic updates. These enhancements can drastically improve the initial impact of the aircraft’s advertising. It will then allow prospective buyers to focus on other elements of comparison within the market.

Like redesigning a house or office space, it takes a bit of vision and guidance from experts to focus on the right touches. 

Have we answered your questions? If not, leave a comment for our aircraft sales experts and we’ll answer accordingly. And browse our website for more eye candy!

 

Contact Guardian Jet

Posted in: Ownership

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Jill Henning

jill@forwardstmarketing.com
+1 203-453-0800

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