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The jewel in the Masterjet crown

Posted 25 November 2009 · Add Comment

Patrick Mauboussin is known the world over for his fine jewellery designs but is now working on a different kind of gem – his signature aircraft design for Masterjet Business Aviation. Marcelle Nethersole talks to Mauboussin and Masterjet's Edward Queffelec, about their collaboration and the interest it is sure to generate in the Middle East.


According to Patrick Mauboussin, air travel is also a question of art, which is why he has been working on a new concept called “Flying is Art” and creating a new aviation interior and exterior design company – Patrick Mauboussin Aircraft Design. 

His first project is ‘Nile Spirit’, the painting of the 26-passenger Airbus A320 Corporate operated by Masterjet.

But just how did a jewellery designer get to launch his own aircraft design company and work with a business aviation specialist?

“Masterjet’s expertise is in three areas of business aviation; aircraft trading, aircraft charter and operation and consulting,” explains Edward Queffelec, Masterjet marketing manager.

“We operate a range of Dassault Falcon, Cessna Citation and Airbus jets. Our main operation facility is based at Paris Le Bourget airport with other facilities in Geneva , London , Jeddah, New Delhi and Malta . We are always looking at new ways to keep our global customers happy.

“Over the years, Masterjet has analysed the customer demand regarding cabin size and found out that more and more customers are attracted to the new wide cabin solutions, ACJ and BBJ, but were stopped by the heavy acquisition price. This is why Masterjet came back with a new solution product proposing the acquisition of a recent second-hand airliner and offering a VIP conversion.

“This provides a tailor-made aircraft for a customer with a sensibly reduced price. But to make us different we needed a brilliant designer with a fresh view of aviation.”

The answer was close to home. Edward’s father, Philip Queffelec, is the Masterjet Group president and he had been friends with Patrick Mauboussin for decades.

For the famous jeweller it was an offer he could not refuse.

“My family was in the aviation industry a long time ago so I found it natural to join my friend Philip in this new venture,” Mauboussin said.

The move allowed Mauboussin to start with a clean sheet of paper and bring fresh ideas to the industry.

“I hope to not only bring decoration but also well-being, using some other technologies, in order to let the passenger feel better after his journey. I have the chance as a jeweller to realise specific and ultra-personalised orders for customers,” Mauboussin said.

An A320 was the first project for him.

“Masterjet was providing an A320 project for a customer and we wanted to make a gift for him. At the same time, Patrick Mauboussin Aircraft design was being created and we thought it would be a wonderful idea to offer to our customer a unique aircraft paint mixed between his country culture and Patrick’s incredible inspiration,” explained Queffelec. “We have to say that the customer was very pleased to get such a signature on his aircraft and to transform his corporate travel tool into a piece of art.”

The project was called ‘Nile Spirit’ which, Queffelec said, “raises a very new skin, underlying a fuselage composed with several shades of blue”.

Mauboussin explained the creative idea behind the design of ‘Nile Spirit’: “My first priority was to understand the background and the culture of the customer. This is very important. I told the customer a number of different stories and let him choose which one applied to him.”

This approach is generating significant interest within the VIP market as it reinforces the point to customers that they have their own unique aircraft with their own personalities at the heart. Queffelec added: “The Patrick Mauboussin Aircraft Design signature is aimed at customers who are passionate about their aircraft and who want to make it something unique; to make their flight an ‘art’. The good thing is you do not have to make it super-expensive for it to be unique. Just create it around you, which means that the Mauboussin signature is not limited to a single-area customer or a single aircraft type and can be adapted for any customer.

“The Middle East market is definitely the one that is the most used to the aircraft personalisation and, furthermore, Middle East customers are definitely the most open to new designs and different schemes. They have always had a passion for aviation, which clearly makes them potential customers for Patrick’s concept. Not being a decorator, but a jeweller, and an artist, Patrick definitely brings a breath of fresh air in the aircraft design industry.”


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