Star Alliance has selected a common economy class seat architecture that will be jointly procured and installed on some member airlines, following years of studies.
"Yes, we are over the finish line with regard to this," confirmed Star vice-president corporate office Christian Klick today at Airline Business' Alliances, Joint Ventures and Partnerships conference in Rome. "We will have the first purchases [from] three carriers for that baseline seat."
He declined to reveal the identity of the seat manufacturer selected to produce the seats, but said further details will be released this week.
In March, ATI and Flightglobal revealed that Star was studying various economy class seats as part of the joint procurement programme. The goal was not to come up with a standardised economy class seat across Star but rather to select a seat base that airlines wishing to participate could use and adapt to their needs in terms of colour, fabric, and in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.
Air China is among the Star member airlines that participated in the seat study. The airline set up a special aircraft seating simulation zone at Beijing Capital International Airport for the research. Some 200 of Air China's most loyal customers tested seats currently in use as well as three new seating concepts from various manufacturers.
"From the beginning, we always said that with the cabin product, the airline should keep its own identity," said Klick. But he noted that the mass production of a baseline seat would result in a reduction in maintenance costs.