Austrian Airlines has selected Thomson Aero Seating - which developed and patented the concept of staggering seats between consecutive rows - for its new business class. The business class seat is similar to that of sister carrier Swiss International Air Lines.

Swiss introduced this layout in 2009 with a Contour-made business class seat based on Thomson's concept. Austrian's new premium accommodation closely resembles its sibling for Swiss but offers some new details such as a freshly designed control panel, different tray table and new actuators.

Air cushion seats, as employed by Swiss, will also be installed in Austrian's new business class.

The deal with Thomson comes after the Northern Ireland-based design specialist started manufacturing seats last year. Austrian is the third airline to select the company after Brussels Airlines and another unnamed carrier.

Austrian will install the seat, which reclines to a fully horizontal flat bed, as part of a complete cabin makeover programme, including new overhead bins and lavatories, on its Boeing 767 and 777 fleet. The first aircraft is to be completed in November, with the last one to follow in March next year.

The four 777s will be equipped with 48 business and 260 economy class seats, while two cabin layouts will be used on the six 767s. Four aircraft will be fitted with 36 business and 178 economy class seats, while the remaining two will accommodate 26 business and 199 economy class passengers.

Source: Flight Daily News