Airbus is in the process of developing a simplified, lie-flat business class seat for A320-family aircraft, utilising existing economy-seat structures.
Dubbed "Settee Corner", the design features two, slightly offset seats combined in a single monument – like a sofa – with a flat, end-to-end seating area that can accommodate passengers of as much as 185cm (6ft) in height.
The window-side portion of the seat is angled, and features a larger seating area – serving as the bed's head end – and a cushioned fold-up panel to enlarge the lie-flat area.
Although the seat can accommodate two sitting passengers in cruise, it is designed for single occupancy, with the traveller sitting in the aisle-side portion for take-off and landing.
Airbus Interiors Services' business line leader for tailored equipment, Amalia Martinez-Martin, said at AIX 2019 in Hamburg today that the seat was up to 30% lighter than a standard lie-flat business class seat because the new design needed no reclining mechanism or actuators.
Furthermore, she says, the sofa seat is being proposed with a 32in (81cm) pitch – leading to fishbone-style cabin layout – while conventional business seats typically have a 34in pitch.
Martinez-Martin adds that, especially as single-aisle aircraft can be deployed for long-haul flights, the proposed sofa seat will allow operators to offer a lie-flat business product at "very competitive cost of ownership" because it eliminates the need for a complex support structure and can be installed on standard A320-family seat rails.
The sofa seat's main support structure is derived from an existing, certificated economy seat by Italian manufacturer Geven.
Airbus designed the concept with Geven, but it could also work with another seat supplier, Martinez-Martin says. The intellectual property is Airbus's.
The seat is currently still in a development phase and, Martinez-Martin says, no customer has yet been won by the idea.
She says, however, that Airbus intends to include the seat in the airframer's buyer-furnished equipment catalogue by 2021.
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