INTERIORS: Integrated IFE seat concept gains traction

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Integrated in-flight entertainment (IFE) seats are gaining traction with airframers, airlines and suppliers alike, and pressure is growing to bring forward improved solutions.

This was one of the issues discussed yesterday at the show by a panel of experts from all three camps.

"There is big pressure across the board for more integrated solutions," says B/E Aerospace vice-president and general manager seating products Tom Plant, adding that B/E is "looking at bringing a better solution to the table".

The idea has also piqued the interest of Airbus, says the European manufacturer's head of aircraft interiors marketing Bob Lange: "As an airframer we're quite intrigued by the integrated seat/IFE concept." He adds that "the idea of seat-centric IFE" is attractive because it "allows customers to upgrade more aptly".

United Airlines, which is understood to be eyeing possible integrated IFE seats on its Boeing 787s, is "always looking for some kind of integrated solution", says the carrier's director of product marketing, John Yeng.

Air France long-haul product director Alex Hervet notes that the French carrier has been "pushing the integrated solution for years", and will "continue pushing forward in that way".

In 2009, Panasonic Avionics unveiled the first-ever truly integrated IFE seat in partnership with Weber Aircraft and product development firm Teague.