Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2011 Contents Goxixglz Otzkxouxy
Cabin interiors key to airlines'
allure In the struggle to increase profitability, airlines are paying an increasing amount of attention
to the design of their cabin interiors as a means of building their brand and luring more
passengers, as well as reducing aircraft weight, writes Andrzej Jeziorski.
The good news for airlines over the
past year has been a resurgence in
demand for air travel, as the world
recovers from economic crisis. e
bad news is that margins remains
-- in the words of IATA chief
Giovanni Bisignani -- "pathetic".
is means carriers must redouble their e orts to
maximise the e ciency of their operations and ll as
many seats as they can -- especially in their high-yield
premium cabins. One vital strategy they have had
to pay increasing attention to is their aircra cabin
e newest jetliners coming into service over the
next few years -- Boeing s 787 and 747-8I, and Airbus s
A350 XWB -- all emphasise new cabin designs that o er
passengers increased comfort. ey o er more space
and a greater 'sense of space , more daylight, lighting
designed to help travellers relax, more comfortable
seats, in- ight connectivity and entertainment systems
that allow passengers more and more options for work
and leisure while airborne.
ese things give airlines an opportunity to create a
strong brand for themselves and distinguish themselves
from the competition. At the same time, technology is
becoming available that allows carriers to save weight
on their interiors, reducing fuel burn at a time when
fuel prices are once again becoming a major concern.
Boeing o cials have described cabin interiors as "the
primary tool for an airline to show what its brand is and
distinguish itself from the competition".
With this increased emphasis on cabins,
manufacturers have been simplifying the way carriers
select their interiors. e way is being led by Boeing,
with its 787 'Dreamliner poised to enter service in
the third quarter of this year, although Airbus, too,
has greatly modi ed its regular cabin-selection process
for the A350 XWB, which is scheduled to enter into
ser vice in 2013.
Full-ser vice carriers, threatened by low-cost rivals, are
particularly cognizant of the need to o er a distinctive
travel experience, particularly to their premium
Japanese national carrier Japan Airlines (JAL)
has invested about 65 billion yen (US$803 million)
over the past ve years in product-development and
enhancements. at amount covered the introduction
of new seats, service improvements and renovation
of lounge and check-in areas, but did not cover the
carrier s on-going eet renewal plan.
"Demand- uctuation risk is relatively small in the
case of business passengers," JAL said. "Cognizant of
this, we have been employing a 'premium strateg y ...
and are endeavouring to enhance our premium-quality
products and ser vices targeted principally at business
and other high-yield passengers."
Hong Kong-based Cathay Paci c Airways, too,
prioritises its cabin interiors.
"We believe that our interiors are a tangible, three-
dimensional expression of our brand," the airline
said. "As such, we always strive for excellence in cabin
Cathay periodically revamps its cabin interiors based
on factors such as passenger feedback, competition
and maintenance quality as it tries to maintain its
reputation for the highest product standards.
Most recently, this policy was demonstrated in
December, when the carrier unveiled its new business
class seat, which the airline said "will help to rede ne
the travel experience for premium passengers beginning
Speaking at the unveiling event, Cathay Chief
Executive Tony Tyler said: "Our new at-bed business
class seat was developed a er listening to what our
customers had to say and it will, I believe, underline
our commitment to excellence in innovation."
e new seat o ers both privacy and openness,
with a wing-back chair that gives passengers their
own private space and has been carefully designed to
maximise living space. e "in nitely-adjustable" seats
The latest aircraft cabins, such as the Boeing 787's, are
designed to offer passengers a greater sense of space.
'The cabin renewal programme, launched in spite of the
business challenges the world's airlines are facing, is an
investment in improving our customers' travel experience.'
-- Singapore Airlines
AsianAviation | APRIL 2011 33
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