The wealthy individuals and big corporations willing to spend tens of millions of dollars on a private jet tend to know what they want and expect to get it.
Bombardier, like all successful companies catering to luxury buyers, is happy to comply.
That means offering virtually endless choices of seating arrangements, leather, cloth, and china, and just about anything else the customer wants. They do draw the line at installing exercise bikes — for weight considerations.
New planes arrive without any interior to speak of at Bombardier’s Global Completion centre in Montreal, and are outfitted to their future owner’s exact specifications.
From beginning to end, the process takes 18 months. The final price tag for the Bombardier Global 6000 jet, the company’s standard model with room for 14: around $50 million.
Bombardier gave us a private tour of the factory, and showed us how they make their private jets.
Full disclosure: Private jet charter company VistaJet paid for our trip to Montreal to try out its service and visit the Bombardier Completion centre.
Customers start by selecting the design they want for their jet, including all the materials that will be used. The process of designing a customised jet takes two to four months.
Some customers want to match the look of their jet to that of their yacht. Here are some of the leather samples they can select from.
The combinations of choices are endless, Bombardier says. The only requirements are that materials be nonflammable, and relatively lightweight.
Bombardier made the table heights adjustable and put all of the cables overhead, to keep their workers and comfortable safe from tripping.
Each of these pieces is customised to fit the customer's requirements for seating, electronics, and how they want the plane's galleys arranged.
Before the varnish is applied to the paneling, the wood is heated, so it dies and cannot change shape.
The Bombardier Global Completion centre is new. It's big enough to hold 40 to 50 planes at a time; there were about 17 there when we visited.
This space, with offices overhead, opened in January of this year. (We've censored the tail of the jets in these photos, per Bombardier's request to protect their customers' privacy.)
When the plane gets to Montreal, it is ready to fly, but has no interior to speak of. In a 'dynamic' process, the jets move along a production line, through a series of 13 'bays.' They will stay in each for between a day to a week.
Bombardier workers will spend several months at one bay, doing the same task for each jet, before rotating to another area.
Once the interior is complete, the jet will go through the certification process again, to make sure it's safe to fly.
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