Lufthansa Technik’s latest invention, a movable platform for safely and comfortably transporting falcons on board civil aircraft, will be available for clients during the second half of 2015 (see report in our Monday CFG issue). It will be interesting to see if commercial carriers will give their okay to the falcon owners to have their birds travelling this way in the cabin of their jetliners. To get specific on this unusual project we spoke with Peter Isendahl, Senior Manager Innovations VIP & Executive Jet Solutions at Hamburg-headquartered LH Technik AG.
Q: Peter, your new product “Falcon Master” has attracted much public attention. Do we soon see passengers travelling on commercial airlines mainly to and from the Middle East
with a falcon sitting next to them in the cabin?
A: Our design study ‘Falcon Master’ is developed primarily for the VVIP and private jet market, where many of our customers fly also Airbus and Boeing aircraft in a VIP configuration. Since ‘Falcon Master’ is installed on standard aircraft seat tracks, which commercial airliners are also equipped with, it could be easily installed above economy seats for example, like a stretcher with a patient. It is up to each airline and aviation authority in each country to decide, if they allow falcons or other birds on board of commercial airliners and how they should be transported. Some may require a cage for example. I have heard that some airlines in the Middle East allow Falcons in the airliner cabin already and Falcon Master could be an optional service for such airlines.
Q: Did a special clientele approach you to come up with a technical solution to safely and comfortably transport falcons on board of aircraft or did LH Technik kick off this product as reaction to a certain market demand predominantly in Arabian countries?
A: The idea for ‘Falcon Master’ is part of our long-term innovation strategy. Our designers and engineers meet on a regular basis to create interesting products for our customers. Many sales colleagues have reported that there is nothing like the ‘Falcon Master’ available on the market. Also at the MEBA Exhibition in Dubai, UAE, customers gave us feedback on how they transport falcons today and it looks like the ‘Falcon Master’ could be an interesting alternative.
Q: When do you think will the first “Falcon Master” be ready for practical use and how much do users have to pay for it?
A: The ‘Falcon Master’ could be available in the second half of 2015, if enough customers order it in the coming weeks. ‘Falcon Master’ is a design study right now. Depending on the market response in terms of additional design features, certification requirements and units ordered, we will define a price which could be around 50.000 EUR.
According to Lufthansa, falcons are not accepted to be brought into the passenger cabins of their aircraft. The airline refers to IATA regulations that only allow cats and dogs on board the planes.