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Conference report

The second Cabin Refurbishment and Repair Conference 2016 was an outstanding success. Here are the highlights

The conference covered a wide range of subjects, from new to old aircraft and small to large aircraft and airlines, as well as different products, processes and technology. There was also plenty of advice for airlines on how to get the most out of their cabin projects.


JPA Design

Tim Mason, Design Director at JPA Design, outlined a number of projects that have been carried out by his company.


For American Airlines, a revamp of the business class cabins on Boeing 767-200 aircraft involved the redesign of an existing interior to produce a fresher look and more efficient use of space. For the Boeing 777-200, there was an adaptation of the dramatic entrance area and a walk up bar on the 777-300ER (which JPA also worked on), plus an all new business class, cabin dividers and updated lavatories.


For Singapore Airlines, there was a new Premium Economy cabin on the Airbus A380 and 777-300ER. Manson explained that 3D data was provided by ZIM Flugsitz for its BC-01 catalogue product, allowing JPA Design to find areas of the seat that could be adapted to meet the airline’s requirements, such as a cocktail tray, USB charging points, water bottle stowage, headset, and personal item stowage in the console. Recline angles as well as calf and foot rest ergonomics were developed to meet Singapore Airline’s requirements. The seat back and literature pocket were completely redesigned to incorporate a 13.3in HD monitor with extra stowage for laptops or tablets, all within easy reach of the passenger. A fully adjustable reading light is included with a bespoke ferrule and leather trimming, featuring orange stitching that coordinates with the unique asymmetric graphic stitch lines on the seat back.


Of course, these are major international airlines, but he offered some advice for any carrier looking to change its cabin:


  • Make customer experience the focus of any project
  • Plan ahead to get a better selection of options with fewer compromises
  • Consider design, branding, maintenance and the supply chain
  • Challenge the design company and industry to innovate


Acro Aircraft Seating

Chris Brady, Chief Executive of Acro Aircraft Seating, said there are five important elements in seat selection that run in a particular order: comfort, robustness, maintainability, lightweight, and price.


Passengers will always put comfort at the top, but the seat selection process a lot of airlines carry out is locked into a set of behaviours that do not necessarily deliver this comfort. In fact, the process usually starts at the other end of the list and is dominated by choosing characteristics that fit a spreadsheet. He added that the seat evaluation process is utter nonsense if only a single row of seats is involved – the space between two rows of seats is the passenger’s living space and one of the most important contributors to overall perceptions of comfort.


In a survey Brady carried out using, he found that on 80% of shorthaul flights the seat pitch in economy varied between 30-31in, on 80% of longhaul flights it was 31-32in, and on 80% of low-cost carriers it was 29-30%. In other words, despite the impression that low-cost carriers pack in their passengers, there is really only 3in of difference in space across most of the world’s airlines.


He noted that the perfect solution to a proposal for a low cost and lightweight seat would be a deckchair, specifically as it requires the sitter to articulate their pelvis and to curve their spine – the best way of sitting for long periods. However, he criticised the use of fabric, like on deckchairs, for support in airline seats. A solid seat back prevents the intrusion of items being rammed into the seat pocket by the passenger behind, or by the presence of their knee as they try to get support in a slouched position. >>

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Highlights from the Cabin Refurbishment & Repair Conference


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