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Family matters

HAECO Americas will soon have Vector and Arc products flying with sister company Cathay Pacific. Ian Harbison reports
 

 

Later this year, Cathay Pacific will take delivery of the first of 25 Airbus A350-1000s. The economy cabin will be fitted with Vector economy-class seats and Arc headrests supplied by HAECO Cabin Solutions, a division of HAECO Americas. David Kelly, Vice President, Strategy and Marketing at HAECO Americas, says this is a massively important event for the company. The reason? Development of the seat started in 2014, when the company was TIMCO Aviation Services. It was acquired that year by the Swire Group, owners of Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO).


In the review of the company’s activities following the takeover and rebranding to HAECO Americas, the potential of the seat was recognised and extra design and engineering resources were made available from the group. Having received such a fillip, it was essential to get it absolutely right, especially as regards on-time delivery, quality and durability. The development time was extended and, as a result, the seat missed being fitted to the airline’s A350-900s (which have business class seats from another OEM that have failed to address any of those considerations, adding more pressure to the Vector team). Outside assistance on Vector and Arc has also been provided by London-based Acumen Design (see box story, Helping Hand).


Kelly says Vector is intended to form the basis of a platform of seats, covering a premium narrowbody product and premium economy and economy narrowbody/widebody products. This enables airlines to ‘mix and match’ on the same aircraft type or across the fleet, and with a high degree of commonality, spares holdings will be reduced. TIMCO’s heritage as an MRO provider comes in useful here, and Kelly describes their philosophy as one of ‘fixing problems, not causing them’. This is reflected in Cabin LifeCare, an alternative to traditional warranty programmes that uses parts supply management and line maintenance support to airlines to keep interiors serviceable, and is akin to similar programmes for engines and components.


A perfect example of this broad capability comes from an early customer for Vector, Colombian low cost airline Wingo, which started operations late last year. HAECO Cabin Solutions provided reconfiguration engineering and obtained the FAA/EASA certification for the installation of seats on four Boeing 737-700s through the Supplemental Type Certificate process. The company also noted that it took just three months from order to delivery of the first shipset of seats.


A similar process will be followed for Jazeera Airways of Kuwait. The airline is refitting seven Airbus A320s but has a two-class configuration, with Business Class consisting of 12 seats in three rows (the middle seat is left empty). While the seats will be structurally identical, with a USB charger throughout, the premium versions will have different foams and covers as a differentiator. >>

 


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