Lufthansa Technik Offers A330 As ‘Super Yacht’

The main deck features the cargo hatch from the freighter version of the A330 to create a veranda.
Credit: Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Technik is launching a cabin concept based on exploring the world that means an Airbus A330 can serve as not only a mode of intercontinental transport, but also as a high-end hotel and base camp for high-net-worth individuals traversing the globe.

The company got the idea for Explorer at the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show. At the most recent edition of that event in September, Lufthansa Technik provided a “sneak peak” of its offering to what it considers to be an “upcoming market.” Now the company is displaying the concept at the Dubai Airshow.

An A330 can be outfitted by LHT with luxurious seating and entertaining and sleeping options, including several unique, just-unveiled features.

One is a retractable veranda in the forward-fuselage area that extends outside of the aircraft. The main deck’s cargo hatch on the A330 freighter version can be used in this passenger configuration as the opening for which the platform extends out by several meters from, forming a balcony that is about four meters above the ground. Wieland Timm, Lufthansa Technik head of sales for VIP & special mission aircraft services, says this was the most complicated feature to create, but “the view is very unique.”

The Explorer cabin also unveils an innovative large-scale projection system that extends across most of the cabin ceiling. Pictures or video projections can make the ceiling look like a city skyline or give you the impression of being under the sea with whales swimming above you, for instance. To achieve the effect, Lufthansa Technik installs Diehl Aerospace’s small, passively cooled projectors in the sidewall and ceiling to create a large-scale virtual experience that customers can configure.

The cabin can also feature a dining room with a wooden floor that can convert into a disco. The furniture moves and electrically driven columns holding the table and chairs in place lower into the floor when not in use.

Another innovation is Lufthansa Technik’s two-story concept for the A330. A glass floor provides viewing to the lower level, where related equipment for the adventure is located—whether it be sports cars, safari vehicles, small submarines for scuba diving or golf simulators. A staircase connects the two levels so the lower level can be accessed and used as a lounge, as well.

The idea for the back of the cabin includes a multifunction room that houses an exercise facility complete with sauna and steam shower—or an area that can be converted into a hospital room for emergencies.

The Explorer concept is intended for 12 VIP travelers, but its modular design could be configured for up to 47 passengers. Lufthansa Technik says the Explorer concept works for both private operators as well as charter companies offering adventure travel.

Think of the aircraft like a base camp. It can fly into airports with paved runways and be used as a hotel, which is convenient for remote destinations where limited high-end accommodation is available.

“Currently there is nothing in this same size available—this is a new market inspiration,” says Timm. To configure an A330 with the Explorer concept, it could cost about $100 million, in addition to the price of the basic aircraft, he says.

Lufthansa Technik’s Explorer cabin concept is the latest in a series designed to show its latest innovations and technologies available to “inspire the market,” says Timm.​​

Lee Ann Shay

As executive editor of MRO and business aviation, Lee Ann Shay directs Aviation Week's coverage of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), including Inside MRO, and business aviation, including BCA.