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INTERIOR: Sogerma unveils premium seat siblings

French interiors and aerostructures group EADS Sogerma has unveiled its first premium economy class seat and a related business class variant for narrowbody aircraft.

Both are named "Celeste". But while the former has been selected by Airbus as buyer-furnished equipment for the A350, its single-aisle business class sibling still awaits an official launch customer.

Jeffrey Forsbrey, vice-president sales and marketing, is sure, however, that operators will adapt their narrowbody fleets as the greater range of the future A320neo and Boeing 737 Max demand more passenger comfort. Instead of today's typical "one-size-fits-all" interior approach for narrowbody fleets - which allows airlines to deploy the aircraft flexibly across their short-haul network - he thinks that carriers will have to upgrade some of the aircraft for flight times up to six hours.

Both seats have a fixed back shell and slide down into a more relaxed "cradle" position, either by a single electric actuator or gravity-based mechanism. The business class seat can be angled to 45 degrees, while the narrower premium economy class variant stops at 35 degrees.

Seat pitch for the business class version is 40-45in (102-114cm), while its premium economy sibling can be installed with a 38-40in separation between seat rows.

Weight has not been finalised for the former, but should be below 30kg (66lb). The smaller premium economy version is lighter at 20-25kg, says Sogerma.

There are slight differences, such as the tray table folding down from the forward seat back on the premium economy version, while it is pulled out from a central console on the business class variant, which also offers a seat separation screen.

No customers have yet been recruited for either seat, says Forsbrey. But when they have been ordered, it will take around 18 months until the delivery.

The EADS subsidiary is talking with Boeing about inclusion into the US airframer's BFE equipment range. But Forsbrey says that the talks regarding potential installation of "Celeste" business class seats on board the 737 Max are still at an early stage.