If just the thought of someone spending the equivalent of the GDP of Uruguay on a private jet raises your blood pressure, then visiting the Dubai Air Show is not advisable. Brazilian aerospace conglomerate, Embraer, has revealed images of its luxury Embraer Lineage 1000E at the ongoing Dubai Air Show. it is designed for “journeys for families, royalties or politicians and their entourages who want to travel in style”. Although the plane costs £8,300 an hour to charter, last year there was a nine per cent increase in demand for these “VIP airliners”, particularly from the Middle East and Asian markets.
The living area: The central zone (8ft 10in wide by 6ft 6in high) is fitted with white leather banquettes and fine wool carpets (although buyers can choose from 700 fabrics and 60 carpets). Extras include iPod docks, five televisions, surround-sound speakers, four Blu-ray players, a satellite telephone and Wi-Fi. Unusually, the cabin has 323 cubic ft of on-board luggage space, and 443 cubic ft in the hold. “It’s not big enough to take a racehorse or grand piano,” says Wheatley. “For that, you’d need an additional freighter. But it can take mountains of luggage, so is ideal for shopping trips to Europe from the Middle East.”
The master bedroom: The cabin of the Lineage 1000E is divided into five areas, one of which has a queen-sized bed and walk-in shower: one of the biggest luxuries on an aircraft because of the weight of carrying water. Up front are two additional lavatories.
The staff: As well as two pilots and two stewards, to serve up to 19 passengers, for long journeys an additional pilot is taken. The front of the plane has a separate cabin in which crew can rest.
The technology: It’s the longest VIP jet (84.3ft) permitted to land at small airports such as London City and Aspen. While there are about 500 airports for scheduled planes in the USA, there are more than 5,000 that can take smaller planes, and 4,200 in Europe, which give passengers of private and VIP jets enormous flexibility. Of the 40,000 charter flights taken every month, about 7,000 are made by a Lineage, or a similar-sized jet, such as a BBJ, Gulfstream or Falcon 7X. Passengers want comfort - and they want safety. This has General Electric engines, Honeywell technology and is quiet and fuel-efficient. So it’s popular.
The dining experience: Seats can be swivelled so four passengers can eat together on elegantly laminated wooden tables with fine crockery. The kitchen has both convection and microwave ovens, an espresso-maker, plus a dishwasher (the latest Lufthansa Technik aircraft-safe model costs €50,000). Gourmet food, usually vacuum-packed before departure, is heated and served on board, with fine wine.
The seats: A plane of this size normally seats 90; this carries a maximum of 19, in seats that can be converted into flat beds, or double beds if four are swivelled and joined.
The route: Although it doesn’t have the same range as a Gulfstream 650, which could do Los Angeles to Melbourne non-stop, the Lineage 1000E has a range of 5,300 miles, at a maximum speed of 543mph. Guests chartering a plane one way will have to pay for a return flight; London to Dubai would cost about £125,000 for a 7.5hr flight, and London to Geneva from £32,000 for a 1.5hr flight.