See inside the world's newest private jet: a $110 million converted Airbus airliner that looks like a flying penthouse apartment

·4 min read
Acropolis Aviation Airbus A320neo ACJ
The delivery of the first Airbus ACJ320neo.

Airbus

  • Acropolis Aviation recently unveiled the interior of its new Airbus ACJ320neo aircraft, of which it is the first operator. 

  • The Airbus Corporate Jet family of aircraft are modified versions of Airbus' passenger jets converted for private use.

  • The apartment-like aircraft are a step above the most luxurious private jets from Gulfstream, Bombardier, and Dassault. 

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Airbus A320neo was a game-changer for airlines and is now being eyed by the private jet industry.

The first next-generation aircraft to be produced by the European manufacturer, the A320neo promised and delivered lower operating costs and increased efficiency compared to the previous generation Airbus A320s.

The aircraft has the same shell of its ever-popular predecessor but features new engines and aerodynamically friendly sharklet wingtips, both aiding in its reduced fuel consumption and providing additional range. 

While the passenger model of the A320neo is in use the world over with airlines such as British Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, and Lufthansa, there's a small subset of the aircraft being produced with the world's mega elite in mind. 

Marketed as an Airbus Corporate Jet, the ACJ320neo is an A320neo modified for private use for when a regular private jet doesn't cut it. The aircraft is the latest in the ACJ line-up, with aircraft as large as the Airbus A350 XWB being offered in the product line. 

UK charter operator Acropolis Aviation took delivery of the first Airbus ACJ320neo in 2019 at Airbus' main production facility in Toulouse, France, after which it went straight to Switzerland to have its luxurious interior cabin installed. Thirteen months later, the aircraft is ready to take passengers and is already jet setting around the world. 

Take a look inside the newest private jet to roam the skies. 

Acropolis Aviation received its first Airbus ACJ320neo in January 2019 but the aircraft only began flying in March 2020 as it spent 13 months getting its ultra-luxurious cabin installed in Switzerland.

Acropolis Aviation Airbus A320neo ACJ
Acropolis Aviation Airbus A320neo ACJ

Airbus

Source: Acropolis Aviation

The cabin, designed by Yves Pickardt of Alberto Pinto Interior Design, is the pinnacle of luxury travel designed with comfort and space in mind, comparable to a penthouse suite than an airliner.

Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo
Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo

Acropolis Aviation

Source: Acropolis Aviation

While a passenger-configured Airbus A320neo can seat upwards of 180 people, this corporate-configured variant seats a mere 19 and can sleep 17. The design is aimed at exclusivity rather than capacity.

Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo
Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo

Acropolis Aviation

Source: Acropolis Aviation

The apartment-like design of Acropolis' ACJ320neo is complete with a master bedroom and en-suite bathroom, with the latter being the largest ever featured on an Airbus aircraft.

Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo
Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo

Acropolis Aviation

Source: Acropolis Aviation

The ACJ320neo can fly up to 6,000 nautical miles, able to connect city pairs such as New York and Tokyo, London and Seattle, and Los Angeles and Auckland.

Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo
Acropolis Aviation ACJ320neo

Acropolis Aviation

Source: Airbus

The ACJ320neo and A320neo family is based on Airbus' popular A320 product line, featuring a new engine offering and fuel-efficient additions. The aircraft's unit cost is $110 million.

Airbus A320neo.
Airbus A320neo.

Regis Duvignau/Reuters

Source: Airbus

The first Airbus A320neo flew in 2014, following 27 years of its predecessor's reign with the previous generation A320 having flown its first flight in 1987.

Airbus A320neo
Airbus A320neo

ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty

Source: Airbus

Lufthansa later took delivery of the first A320neo, integrating it seamlessly with its existing fleet of Airbus narrow-body aircraft.

Lufthansa Airbus A320neo
Lufthansa Airbus A320neo

Lukas Schulze/picture alliance/Getty

Source: Airbus

Thanks to an identical cockpit and avionics system, pilots can fly the A320neo with minimal additional training, a key marketing feature of the aircraft that Boeing sought to replicate with its 737 Max aircraft leading to fatal consequences.

Lufthansa Airbus A320neo
Lufthansa Airbus A320neo

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty

The aircraft has since joined the fleet of major airlines across the world including British Airways...

British Airways Airbus A320neo
British Airways Airbus A320neo

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty

And Scandinavian Airlines.

SAS Airbus A320neo
SAS Airbus A320neo

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty

The aircraft has also debuted globally, seeing success in the US with low-cost carriers such as Frontier Airlines.

frontier airlines
frontier airlines

Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Thanks to its efficiency, airlines have touted the A320neo in fleet renewals and some are using the aircraft as a platform for new airline liveries and branding, as was the case for Aegean Airlines in Greece.

Aegean Airlines Airbus A320neo
Aegean Airlines Airbus A320neo

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty

Read More: Greece's national airline is undergoing a massive brand overhaul to be more Greek with the help of a world-class design firm

The key innovation of the aircraft is in its name, with "Neo" being an acronym for new engine option, one of them being the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM,...

Airbus A320neo Pratt & Whitney engine
Airbus A320neo Pratt & Whitney engine

ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty

Source: Airbus

And the other being the CFM International LEAP-1A engine.

Leap 1A engine
Leap 1A engine

Lu Erjia/Visual China Group/Getty

Source: Airbus

While new private jets such as the Gulfstream G650ER can fly farther than the ACJ320neo with a similar passenger load, the latter is a more remarkable status symbol compared to the former intended for the elite of the elite.

Airbus A320neo
Airbus A320neo

ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty

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