New design for the Airbus A380 VIP 'Flying Palace'

New York, USA: A New York-based design company, Edése Doret Industrial Design, is close to finalizing the interior design for a prospective customer for the VIP version of the Airbus A380 "Flying Palace," and has released an image for the public. The image is of an office or a dining room.

Airbus had revealed in February this year that an unnamed customer had signed a letter of intent to purchase a VIP A380, though it said that the client was yet to sign a firm order for the aircraft.

The Airbus A380 superjumbo is a 555-passenger, double-decker jet set to be introduced into commercial service next year in the United States, pending approval from the FAA.

According to company president, Edése Doret, while the design is nearing completion, it is still subject to adjustment by the client. "They will most likely make changes prior to design freeze," Doret said. Indications within the image itself would make it appear that the customer was probably of Mid-East origin.

Doret's contract is indicative of a rising trend being experienced in the aviation business of rich clients asking for conversion of large jets like the Airbus 319 and A320, the Boeing 737 (called the 737BBJ) and the 757, along with the wide-bodied 747, 767, and 777 for their own personal travel. Two 767s were sold last year to the founders of Google.

Even as Edése Doret Industrial Design's interior has now been made public, it needs to be understood that it is not the only one addressing such a niche market. Lufthansa Technik, the German provider of technical support and maintenance for over 300 of the world's airlines and operators, has also designed an Airbus A380 for probable clients that includes rooms with king-sized beds, deep pile carpeting and en-suite bathrooms; an office with Web and e-mail access; a dining room that can be used for entertaining guests or conducting business meetings; and a theater.

Virgin-brand owner Sir Richard Branson has already said that his Virgin Atlantic fleet of Airbus A380s will include double bedrooms, bars, beauty salons and casinos, but with the difference that they will be available not for the crème de la crème, but the general flying public that wishes to travel on Virgin's upper class cabins.