INTERIORS: ANZ open to retrofitting Skycouch for 787

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Air New Zealand could install lie-flat Skycouch seats for economy class on the Boeing 787-9 despite its absence from the airframer's product catalogue, an airline official confirms.

ANZ and seat manufacturer Recaro also are actively seeking to license the Skycouch to non-competing airlines five months after the concept entered revenue service on the 777-300ER, said Victoria Bamford, the airline's manager of aircraft interiors.

The Skycouch allows two adult passengers in the same row to extend a new leg rest by up to 90 degrees. The modification creates a lie-flat surface for the 777's out-board rows. The concept on 12 September received the Avion award for best passenger experience by APEX.

Boeing, however, has not added the Skycouch to its list of interior cabin features for the 787. That omission will require ANZ to retrofit the Skycouch after the 787-9 is delivered, but that "will not pose a hurdle" if the carrier decides to add the feature, Bamford said.

ANZ developed Skycouch with assistance from subsidiary Altitude Aerospace Interiors, and owns the patent for the leg-rest modification. Other carriers that do not compete directly with ANZ are welcome to license the seat, Bamford added.

Skycouch has allowed ANZ to receive some revenue for an economy-class seat that may otherwise fly empty. ANZ is not licensing its revenue management model for the Skycouch, but the carrier will help airlines understand how the pricing works, Bamford said.

The first 777-300ER equipped with a Skycouch seat entered service last October. Revenue service did not begin until April when ANZ could guarantee route availability with the delivery of the third Skycouch equipped 777.