Zodiac Aerospace’s latest higher-density business-class seat, Optima, should be ready for delivery in less than two years, and the manufacturer is “looking for feedback” from airline visitors to its stand “to make sure we’ve hit the nail on the head” with the product.

The seat is based loosely on the United Airlines Polaris business-class seat, but its pitch can be shrunk to enable more rows to be added.

“Optima shares a lot of DNA with Polaris. We wanted to take advantage of that DNA and make it available to a wider audience,” says Paul Wills, head of product development at Zodiac Seats UK. “We’ve given it a completely new set of furniture and an 18in monitor.”

Optima offers a 79in pitch on an Airbus A350, although “we can stretch the pitch if there is spare space in the cabin”, says Wills. One of its biggest selling points is that every seat has direct aisle access, meaning that passengers do not need to step over their neighbours to access the aisle.

Zodiac is keen to hear customer feedback during the show to ensure that it has got the design right, although Wills is pretty sure it has. “We’re really confident that we’ve got rid of a lot of problems – there’s no step-over, no serve-over and lots of new ideas and technology to meet customer requirements for the next five to 10 years,” he says.

An additional idea for the future that Zodiac is working on, says Wills, is to enable the dividing screen between seats to drop down so the two seats can be turned into a double bed for passengers travelling together.

Optima is being marketed as “an affordable product” which will be available for delivery in less than two years. “We’ve submitted the data to Airbus for the authority to market it so, from now, it would be 22 months to delivery,” says Wills.

Get all the coverage from Aircraft Interiors Expo on our dedicated landing page

Source: Flight Daily News