VIP aircraft completions are a big business. Top designers create the dream of a unique space, meeting the aspirations of the buyer, developing visuals and specifying fittings and materials.
While the manufacturers build the basic aircraft, designers bring their flair to the aesthetics, and the completion centres build to their minimum cost, rarely is the buyer adequately protected from compromises in performance and functionality, and, in particular, timing and cost over-runs. Even an experienced management company or flight department will rarely if ever have the genuine skill set to represent the buyer fully and precisely throughout the process.
A small number of established completion centres specialise in producing necessary manufacturing drawings, working with the regulatory bodies on certifying new elements of an interior, building monuments and fittings as designed or with inevitable changes to meet regulatory or practical requirements, and installing the finished interior by providing hangarage, workshops and labour.
Buyers of new business jets will make selections from an options catalogue. Chosen options will impact on flight safety, ease of maintenance, comfort and convenience, and will have an effect on ability to sell on in due course at an expected price and within an expected timeframe against competition that may have different options. Having skilled and expert advice through the options process will assist greatly, as will oversight through the detailed build process to ensure quality. There are aspects of cabin layout to be considered, galley and washroom configuration, with the Owner's personal selection of colours, materials and finishes. All aesthetic, practicality and, in particular, quality, weight, centre of gravity and project cost objectives must be fully met.
Purchasers of new ultra-large cabin aircraft in particular will be expected to negotiate and execute separate agreements for aircraft acquisition, interior design, and completion. These agreements may have a serious impact on each other, with commitments made under one devalued or negated by another, with significant risks to projected timeframes and budget costs. Changes made during the process, if not contractually anticipated or otherwise introduced by critical milestones, can easily add millions of dollars to such a completion and seriously limit an aircraft's ability to meet aesthetic and performance expectations or potential for value retention.
Those buying preowned may wish to change aspects of configuration, replace soft furnishings, upgrade entertainment and communications systems, upgrade avionics and repaint. All modifications are readily possible to effect following purchase and must be skilfully negotiated and contracted in the buyer’s interest and also quality and cost-managed through to delivery.
Aircraft are delivered with minimum equipment and limited on-board amenities though may be further personalised through, for example, the addition of artwork, vases, bespoke tableware, glassware and cutlery, and carefully selected high quality linens, cushions, sheets, pillows and blankets.