Airbus is focusing on three airlines interested in installing its new 'Spice' (space innovative catering equipment) galley cart, and is hoping to announce a manufacturer by September - although the product is unlikely to launch this year.
Demonstrating a functional prototype of the Spice galley at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Airbus head of interiors marketing Bob Lange said the system had been tested with 11 airlines and that this had shown "a generic business case that is overwhelmingly positive".
The next step is for airlines to carry out their own personalised test case, and Airbus is working with three unnamed carriers.
Lange anticipates the new galley will enter airline service 24 to 30 months after its launch, but the launch is not expected to happen this year.
"We are talking to galley manufacturers and somebody will go first, but it's too early to name a name," says Lange. "At the moment we're focusing on three airlines...a decision this year is possible, but I would be surprised."
Lange points out that Airbus is "trying to change something that's not changed in 40 years", and he is "conscious of the fact that it's taken us three years to get to this point". However, he adds that the reaction from the 11 airlines that have tested the system has been "push, push, push".
The Spice galley replaces the traditional catering trolley with lightweight boxes and foldable carts for service. Each box weighs 6kg when empty and eight boxes are needed on an Airbus A330, rather than the 40 or 50 trolleys that are currently required, says Lange. This means a weight saving of 550kg on an A330 and up to 1t on an A380. Space-wise, installation of the system would allow for three more seats on an A330 and 10 or more extra seats on an A380.
Airbus' Spice galley has only been developed with widebody aircraft in mind. However, Lange says Airbus has "started looking at" designing a system for single-aisle aircraft, which could lead to a possible weight saving of 40kg to 80kg on an A320.