Three Interior Upgrades that Increase Aircraft Value

Three Interior Upgrades that Increase Aircraft Value

If you’re looking to sell your private or business jet, you are probably thinking about how to maximize the value of the aircraft. You want your aircraft to stand out in a crowded marketplace and secure a higher resale value.

When it comes to selling aircraft, we know a few interior upgrades will increase your aircraft’s value.

Why Should You Upgrade Your Aircraft’s Interior?

A private or business jet’s interior is central to passenger satisfaction and the resale price. The aircraft’s cabin is where your passengers or future buyers are going to spend their time while in the skies. The fewer upgrades they must make to the aircraft after purchasing it, the better.

Future buyers typically want a turnkey aircraft they can use right away. They do not want an aircraft that is going to cost them a lot of money and downtime after making the purchase.

If there are two similar aircraft on the market, the future buyer will choose the one with the cabin interior that looks the best. Further, an aircraft’s interior will color the future buyer’s opinion of how well the aircraft has been maintained overall.

Some specific elements of an aircraft interior that are of particular importance to buyers are:

  • Carpet
  • Seats and Upholstery
  • Wi-Fi and Electronics

Aircraft Cabin Upgrade #1 – Carpet

The carpet is usually the first thing that will need to be replaced in an airplane. The spot that wears the most is the “turn spot,” where the person entering the aircraft either turns to the left to the cockpit or right to the cabin. 

Carpet is a private jet interior upgrade that greatly improves “buyer appeal” for a relatively low cost.

Aircraft Cabin Upgrade #2 – Cabin Seats and Upholstery

The “Chairman’s Seat” or the most used seat in the passenger cabin is the first to show wrinkles in the seat pan (affectionately known as “butt dimples”).

It is best practice to recover all seats in the cabin, rather than just one at a time. The seats won’t wear out consistently and might not perfectly match (despite attempts to replicate previous patterns). If, however, the cabin includes a mixture of chairs and divans, then an artful mix of newly covered seats in coordinating materials with existing divans can produce a nicely maintained cabin without needing a complete overhaul.

Read more: What Does It Cost to Refurbish Private Jet Seats?

Three Interior Upgrades that Increase Aircraft Value
Detail of Aircraft Seat Upholstery

Aircraft Cabin Upgrade #3 – Wi-Fi and Electronics

Business jets have always required electronics (known as avionics) and instruments in the cockpit for communication, weather information, and air traffic control. Recently, electronics have become equally important in the cabin.

Electronics in the cabin usually include a range of capabilities available through your aircraft’s cabin management system (CMS). This system allows the crew and passengers to adjust various functions, including temperature, lighting, and in-flight entertainment. In-flight entertainment (IFE) includes the necessary components for audio-visual entertainment and internet access that allow passengers to use their own devices for work or entertainment.

Other Upgrades to Consider

While carpet, seat upholstery, and Wi-Fi are common upgrades to increase the value of your aircraft’s interior, there are other aspects of the cabin that you may want to consider upgrading as well. These upgrades may include any of the following:

  • Soft Goods – seat leather, fabric, and carpet
  • Galley – food service equipment
  • Cabin Management Systems – Satcom for internet and communications, entertainment music and video
  • Major refurbishment – includes the above plus cabinetry, headliners, and sidewalls

Headliners usually escape wear and tear, unless someone smokes on the aircraft, in which case replacement becomes necessary. 

Sidewalls may show wear and tear where passengers slide their shoes on the sidewalls.

Galleys and lavatory upgrades are not as essential as fresh, new carpet and upholstery or upgraded Wi-Fi. Also, it may not be worth the cost of recertification that is required for major improvements. Loose items like microwave ovens and coffee makers can be replaced as needed with updated models.

Read more: 5 Things to Look for When Inspecting Your New Interior Project

How Trip Length Dictates Aircraft Needs Versus Luxuries

Short-range aircraft that make trips of 5 hours or less should have a cabin that speaks of quality and care, but facilities need not be as comfortable or extensive as would be required for longer trips. Smaller aircraft also have far less room for amenities.

For an ultra-long-range aircraft, however, trips can take up to 15 hours. During that time, passengers will expect in-flight entertainment, meals, and comfort. For these longer trips, galleys and lavatory facilities will need to be more elaborate.

The Bottom Line

While it is rare that 100% of the cost of an interior remodel would be recouped at the time of resale unless you factor in fewer days on the market, an interior refurbishment is still a significant factor in the aircraft’s overall value. 

“Interiors do not fully translate into a higher resale value,” Ron Jennings, SVP Business Development MRO at C&L, explained. “But it does make the aircraft stand out from the crowd. It puts them at the top of the market for the specific model.” 

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