A growing consortium of private aviation companies is planning to bring the ultimate in luxury large aircraft into operation. Dubbed the "Queen Mary 2" of the air it will aim to replicate the ocean-going appeal of ocean liners.
The concept is explained by Oliver Lattmann, ceo of Van Lattmann Corporate Communications (VLCC), who stresses that new and potentially interested business partners are being evaluated.
VLCC says the project is internally dubbed "Dicke Berta VVIP" and is based on creating a Queen Mary 2 of the air that can fly sequentially around the world to the most exclusive destinations. "This means the project has to consider carefully which airports can be approached," says Lattmann.
The Dicke Berta would fly under an EU AOC. "It would provide on board all the services and comfort of a seven star hotel," says Lattmann. "The maximum number of passengers would probably be about 80."
He says that extra fuel tanks would be needed to give an extended range but says that a Boeing 747-8 conversion project is being looked at to provide a second aircraft.
Lattmann explains: "The concept envisages a kind of 'hop-on, hop-off' version whereby worldwide feeder flights are provided using smaller business jets. Scheduled flights with Swiss or Lufthansa might also serve. A cooperative arrangement with a few extremely efficient partner enterprises is being evaluated."
The cost evaluation has estimated US$350 million for a green A380 and perhaps in the region of US$220 million for the equipment. "A further US$500 million must be taken into consideration for operation, marketing and sales as well as partner expenditures," Lattmann says.
He says an independent international trust based in Switzerland and governed by Swiss law would be responsible for controlling finances.
The main investors would be four internationally active enterprises based in the Middle East, London, New York and Switzerland.
Lattmann says that partners and suppliers are being evaluated. Steffen Fries, ceo of DC Aviation, confirms: "We are currently in talks to provide feeder flights with our business jets for these planned luxury trips. At DC Aviation we definitely see a market for exclusive flights. We already use our vip Airbus to conduct 'sky cruises' for Hapag Lloyd." EBAN highlighted the success of large aircraft in attracting business for charter operators in its August 2010 issue.