Air New Zealand has become launch customer for UK manufacturer Acro's latest economy seat.

The airline has picked the Series 6 seat – which Acro developed over the past two years to replace its current Series 3 product – for its on-order Airbus A320neo fleet.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2018, Acro senior vice-president sales Alan McInnes tells FlightGlobal.

He says the company's first priorities was to design a comfortable and robust seat: "We could provide a lighter seat. [But] we put comfort first." He insists, however, the seat is "not heavy" either.

A main feature of Acro’s design is a curved rather than flat seat back in order to improve ergonomics for passengers. Alan McInnes asserts that configuration not only improves sitting comfort, but increases leg space for passengers too.

He says that Acro’s previous seat design – named "Series 3", which also included a curved back – was mainly selected by leisure and budget carriers. Hence, Air New Zealand's selection of the new design represents a shift to the legacy airline segment. McInnes says that Air New Zealand has been interested in the new seat from the initial stages of its development.

Window and aisle seats will be 1cm (0.39in) wider than Air New Zealand's current seats on its A320-family fleet. For the middle-seat, the airline opted to increase its width by 3cm. "It's possible the new design may see the middle seat get a boost in popularity," states the carrier's general manager customer experience, Anita Hawthorne.

Air New Zealand has ordered 13 A320neo and five A321neo jets with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofans, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

Today, the carrier operates 30 A320ceos.

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Source: Flight Daily News