The ultimate upgrade
The exclusive private jet business is booming, and luxury outfits are lining up to provide top-flight amenities.
(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Any multimillionaire can buy a plane these days -- worldwide shipments of private jets jumped 18 percent in 2006, their third straight year of double-digit growth, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
That's good news for companies big and small: Not only did Boeing (Charts, Fortune 500) announce last year that it sold a near record $2.8 billion in business jets, but mom-and-pop shop Gore Design Completion -- which did renovations on a used 767 purchased by Google (Charts, Fortune 500) co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 2005 -- recently opened a larger hangar in San Antonio with room to fix up six Boeing jets at once.
That's because the truly rich don't simply want a private jet. No, sir. They want one that's totally tricked out. And that creates great opportunities for companies that can give them what they need. Here's a sampling of what the private jet set is looking for in a luxury airliner.
Aircraft Industry Management Solutions
A bar and liquor cabinet of lustrous waterfall bubinga is a luxury reserved for Google-size jets; smaller planes can't handle the weight, so they must make do with veneer on composite board.
Boeing Business Jet
Cost: $49.5 million
The BBJ, modeled on the 737, is among the most popular jets, but Boeing and others also offer roomier models to the megarich. Business is booming luxury renovation guru Edése Doret says his favorite modification centers are booked through 2010.
Custom Control Concepts
Cost: $1 million and up
Tailored systems from CCC include high-definition screens and disc players and a 10-terabyte storage system with a custom-engineered interface that holds as many as 1,500 movies or 2.7 million songs.
Cost: $4,000 per yard
Top-of-the-line VIP jet carpet is hand-dyed, hand-tufted, 100 percent silk, and fireproof. One sultan wanted an onboard dance club, so the carpet came with fiber-optic strands that change color. That's how you bring back the disco floor at 39,000 feet.
Cost: $200,000-$500,000 (hardware only)
One of the sweetest benefits of a private jet: You can use all the portable electronic devices you want. A tail-mounted antenna and in-cabin terminal allow broadband access to e-mail, videoconferences, and the corporate network. Service starts at $3,500 a month.
Cost: $25,000click here.
From the May 1, 2007 issue