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Not sitting comfortably

This year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg signalled a backlash by airlines against the continuing delivery and quality problems they are experiencing due to supply chain management issues. Ian Harbison caught up with senior executives from GEVEN and Iacobucci who are looking to benefit



Alberto Veneruso, Managing Director, says the Italian company is growing. Recent successes have included selection by Mexican low cost carriers VivaAerobús and Volaris of the Piuma EVO economy class seat for their Airbus A320neo aircraft, and of the Piuma AQ economy class seat by South African Airways for eight Airbus A330s (see Aircraft Cabin Management, April 2017).

There has been considerable investment in the last couple of years in the facilities in Naples, including €30 million in infrastructure, research and development. Around 80% of production is carried out in-house and there has been an emphasis on optimising processes to increase the rate from the current 4,000 parts/month to 6,000 parts/month in 2018. The company is also recruiting engineers for future long haul projects, although he says no new business class product is likely to appear before 2020.

He also points out that the company is achieving 100% on-time delivery rates, which he sees as adding to the company’s positive image in the industry, as well as generating interest from airlines looking for an alternative to the Airbus and Boeing catalogue options and their attendant problems.

The big news for Geven at AIX was a contract award from ATR to provide Neo Classic and Neo Prestige seats for the ATR 42/72-600 aircraft family. These will become standard fit from 1Q18, replacing the Geven Classic and Prestige seats that have been on the aircraft since it was introduced in 2011, with nearly 400 aircraft now in service. These seats were part of the Armonia interior concept from Giugiaro Design, which has been involved with the new seats as well.

The new seats are described as an evolution of the Essenza seat (see page 19). At 18in between armrests, they are claimed to be the widest seats on a turboprop. The Neo Prestige can be reclined, has a larger tray table and a backrest which is 2in higher than on the Neo Classic. Both seats can be retrofitted to earlier ATR 42/72s.

The company is also promoting two other economy class seats, Essenza for short haul operations and Elemento for long haul. Essenza is a lightweight seat (basic weight of 6kg/pax) and the company has carefully designed the primary structure to optimise the weight performance as well as maximising the shin clearance – even at the shortest pitch. Similarly, the composite backrest design provides good knee clearance. Also contributing to reduced weight is a hybrid seat cushion with an integrated structural layer, which means there is no seat pan on the seat structure.

The front of the seat features individual backrest cushions with an integrated padded headrest. Standard finish is fabric dress covers, with leather as an option. The backrest can recline up to 6in, although the company recommends no recline at 27/28in pitch; 4in at 29in; and 5in at 30in or more. For high-density configurations, the seat can be delivered with a pre-determined fixed recline angle, while business class seats will have complete flexibility. To speed up operations, the armrests are completely flush with backrests when folded up, giving easy passenger access/egress.

The standard configuration of the seatback includes an upper net literature pocket, although a rigid version is available as an option, as is a personal electronic device (PED) holder and an additional lower literature/amenity net pocket. The single-piece, horizontal sliding rear table is supported by lateral arms and has a cup recess on the top surface. An optional cup holder is located on the lower surface, for use when the table is folded up.

The company has already sold more than 20,000 seats to three major airlines, with deliveries expected to start by the end of 1Q18.

Elemento comes in at a higher basic weight of 10.9kg/pax, but this is a reflection of the requirements for long haul flights. The seat offers a wide range of customisation options, including the head rest (fixed or 2/4/6-way adjustable); table (one piece or bi-fold with an IFE handset installation); and backshell (up to 12in monitor, LRU installation area (USB, HDMI, audio jack), various PED holders) and the dress covers.

There is a choice of a fixed or an articulating seat pan. This combines a solid, expanded polypropylene structure with a 3D rigid foam centre, carefully shaped to avoid pressure points. Also on offer is an air cushion structure to stimulate blood flow when sitting for long durations, with micro perforated cells to control heat and moisture. This foam and that in the soft backrest offers comfort and absorbs vibrations. The IFE box installation is a flat device mounted under the forward edge of the seat, minimising disruption to shin space.

Other optional features include a fixed lateral headrest support for increased comfort/privacy, adjustable lumbar support and an integrated mini LED personal reading light. Also customisable is the width of the centre seat and amrest.

The seat is now in the certification process with Airbus, with completion expected by the end of 2017. Discussions are taking place with several airlines and delivery is foreseen by 4Q18. >>

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