Diehl Aviation chief executive Rainer von Borstel foresees "huge demand" for the manufacturer's integrated aft galley-lavatory complex, which is being supplied in partnership with Lufthansa Technik as a retrofit solution for Airbus A320 operators aiming to increase seat capacity.
The first aircraft was modified earlier this year and entered service in March, LHT told FlightGlobal at a briefing in Hamburg on 21 March. The German MRO provider is offering the retrofit solution as exclusive prime contractor, with additional equipment manufacturers involved.
FlightGlobal understands that LATAM Airlines Group is the first operator to have retrofitted its aircraft with the complex. The Latin American airline has started a fleet-wide cabin-upgrade programme which covers more than 150 A320-family jets as well as Boeing 767s and 777s.
LHT acknowledges that the cabin-densification solution is competing with Airbus's SpaceFlex aft galley-lavatory complex, which creates space for additional seat rows by moving two lavatories to an area aft of the rear passenger doors, next to a reduced galley. But the German group argues that its design offers the "latest and greatest" way to create additional seat space.
The main difference is that, with LHT-Diehl's solution, two flight attendants are seated for take-off and landing on rear-facing fold-down seats mounted on a separation wall between the passenger seats and galley, by the starboard aft cabin door.
Vision of the passenger cabin – as mandated by regulatory authorities – is provided by a video surveillance system, via a fold-out flat screen fitted to the galley assembly.
Airbus's SpaceFlex solution resolves the cabin surveillance requirement via a fold-down flight attendant seat mounted to one of the lavatory doors. That position provides direct vision into the cabin, but requires a stronger lavatory door and surround structure.
Von Borstel told FlightGlobal at AIX 2019 on 1 April that the LHT-Diehl solution is around 100kg lighter than Airbus's design, and that a number of operators had shown interest in the modification.
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