China's Aerospace Life-Support Industries has established a 50:50 joint venture - Jiahang United Seating Technologies (JUST) - with a subsidiary of the Swiss consulting and management firm Corporate Consulta to manufacture a full range of aircraft passenger seats.

Both partners have allocated an initial investment of €100 million ($140 million) to begin production "[this] coming winter", says Corporate Consulta.

The first model will be an economy class seat named "X-Light" employing an aluminium-carbon construction at a per-passenger weight of 6kg (13lb). However, the plan is to build a full product line comprising nine seats for economy, premium economy, business and first class accommodation

Two new models are to be added "every quarter" after the beginning of production, says Corporate Consulta.

Aerospace Life-Support Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviation Industry of China (AVIC), which fabricates fighter and helicopter seats along with other products at its facility in Xiangyang, in the eastern province of Hubei. This site is an "ideal manufacturing location" where expansion will not be an issue, said the investors.

Fribourg-based Corporate Consulta has formed United Seating Technologies as the Swiss shareholder in the joint-venture and brought in the Italian design firm Bertone and aircraft seat constructor Optimares as independent project partners.

Dubai-based International Project Management Investment (IPM Investment) has taken a 30% share in United Seat Technologies.

As part of its investment, IPM Investment wants to set up an aftermarket support facility in Dubai for customers in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa regions.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news