LHT Introduces 4K Cabin Management System for Challenger 3500
Lufthansa Technik (LHT; Stand G55) is celebrating the deployment this week at EBACE of its 4K Cabin Management System (CMS) and Bombardier’s new Challenger 3500. It also highlights completion and refurbishment milestones that include four scheduled deliveries for this year, said Wieland Timm, sales manager at LHT, VIP services and special mission aircraft.
The Pleasant System (Network Integrated Cabin Equipment) of the 3500 – an updated version of the best-selling super-midsize Challenger 350, introduced in September and scheduled to enter service later this year – features a control advanced voice. This fulfills the desire LHT sees in many business jet owners to bring the home experience to the skies.
But unlike cloud-based voice recognition systems for the home or office, nice is self-contained and AI-driven, requiring no internet connectivity. LHT continues to develop the command library that the multilingual system can handle.
The Challenger 3500 also incorporates wireless chargers throughout the cabin, allowing passengers to charge portable devices by placing them on tables and other surfaces, eliminating the need for wired chargers.
For entertainment, the 3500 includes advanced display technologies. LHT showcases OLED displays, niceOS “customer-centric, cloud-based open software platform“, and other cabin creations at EBACE. Company representatives are on hand to explain the life cycle benefits that OEMs, operators, crew and passengers can expect from these innovations.
Meanwhile, LHT has four green deliveries planned for this year – two ACJ350s for the German government (a third has already entered service) and a pair of ACJ321neos for an unidentified owner. These aircraft reflect the strong demand that the Hamburg-based airliner specialist VIP foresees for completion and refurbishment services.
Timm noted that sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had “no effect” on the VIP side of LHT’s business, although he said it could create indecision among officials. customers considering purchasing an aircraft.
The market for used VIP airliners is strong among current owners, and “new entrants are also emerging,” Timm said, fueling demand for conversions, with “more customers needing a niche to convert plane than there are any available”. The shortage has been exacerbated by the closure of some finishing and renovation centers in recent years, he added.
However, “many customers aren’t interested in going through the entire design process” for a cabin to be a “one-of-a-kind work of art,” according to Timm. “They’re more interested in a proven design, with just a few options and maybe color and material choices, pre-made instead of starting from a blank sheet of paper.”
Buyers now recognize that a custom cabin takes longer to create and is more difficult to modify once built than a more neutral cabin, he said. This is one of the conceptual underpinnings of the ACJ330 Explorer design that LHT is also showing this week at EBACE.
The Explorer incorporates a projection system that can transform the appearance of a cabin via software-driven images and could be adapted for single-aisle airliners, including the ACJ320neos and BBJ Max, Timm said, allowing operators to create instantly customizable cabins. “If people want to resell the plane, you just have to change the content of the projection system, and then you have a totally different cabin,” he said.
Looking ahead, Timm sees demand for the BBJ777X in development, accelerated by the end of production of the 747-8i passenger variants. The 777X, which is expected to enter service in 2024, will offer more floor space than the two-decker 747. LHT has had preliminary discussions with four “customers around the world” interested in Boeing’s future flagship, he said.
At the light end of the market, LHT also sees demand for the Sky Retreat-style open cabin design it introduced for the Airbus A220. Airbus then partnered with Comlux Group to co-market the first 15 ACJTwoTwenty, which will be fitted with preconfigured interior designs. LHT intends “to enter this market as well, with totally different cabins” from those offered by the Airbus-Comlux team, Timm said, although the airframe’s next availability is not expected until 2024 or 2025.
The Innovation division of LHT celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The Nature’s Touch cabin concept introduced in 2019 for the ACJ and BBJ narrowbodies incorporated many innovations developed in partnership with the division, including wireless charging of personal devices now seen on the 3500, as well as electro-chromatic windows and rollable LED screens. The teams “work closely together to bring the latest and greatest technology to market” to LHT’s cabins, Timm added.
The partnership was strengthened by the restructuring of the Lufthansa Group last year, which reduced its operating divisions from eight to five entities. At EBACE, LHT introduces the members of the innovation team who joined as a result of the redesign, said Wassef Ayadi, senior director of customer relations for OEM and special engineering services.
Attendees can also meet Andrew Muirhead and Michael von Puttkamer, Heads of Original Equipment and Special Aircraft Services, this week to learn more about the bespoke cabin innovations possible onboard VIP aircraft and aircraft. special mission.
One innovation you probably won’t find on its VIP aircraft is LHT’s developing AeroShark airframe skin, based on the hydrodynamic drag-reducing properties of sharkskin. Although the potential fuel savings of 1% or more that AeroShark can offer excites commercial customers, the film dulls the look of the aircraft and most VIP airliner owners “like to have a very bright airframe. and brilliant,” Timm said.