Thompson Aero Seating to open a Dynamic Test Facility

Thompson Aero Seating to open Dynamic Test Facility in Northern Ireland

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Thompson Aero Seating to open a Dynamic Test Facility

Thompson Aero Seating has revealed its plans to create a world-class Dynamic Test Facility (DTF) in Northern Ireland.

The building works for the £7.5 million investment have already begun to extend the premises for the DTF at the Thompson brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down. The building works are planned to complete in spring 2023 and testing is due to begin from autumn 2023.

The company will be recruiting for several test engineering roles, with the DTF providing Thompson enhanced capability to certify new products for airworthiness and to carry out research and development work without needing to leave the factory. Thompson says currently there is no DTF on the island of Ireland. Neil Taggart, CEO of Thompson Aero Seating, says: “Having our own Dynamic Test Facility will give us a huge opportunity to save on lead times in the development of our new seats and improve sustainability – which have to be positives for our airline customers.”

Having enhanced in-house dynamic testing capability will give Thompson greater opportunity for innovation and will allow designs to be optimised, reducing weight and, therefore, reducing the carbon footprint of the seats in flight. Furthermore, testing onsite will be positive for the environment.

Sled testing allows engineers to reproduce the dynamic conditions of a full-scale crash event in a controlled environment. The reverse accelerator sled being installed can produce up to 100g accelerations.

Taggart commented: “The majority of the funding for the project has come from Thompson’s shareholder, with Invest Northern Ireland is part-funding the project. This is a very exciting opportunity for Thompson Aero Seating. It will enable us to push the boundaries of design and bring further innovation to the aircraft interiors industry.”

Recaro and Alaska Airlines 10-year partnership

Recaro Aircraft Seating and Alaska Airlines celebrate 10 years of partnership

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Recaro and Alaska Airlines 10-year partnership

Recaro Aircraft Seating and Alaska Airlines are celebrating a partnership which began with the selection of the CL4400 and the Crystal Cabin and Red Dot Award-winning BL3520 for Alaska Airlines’ Boeing fleet.

Throughout the years, Recaro has delivered nearly 20K pax for various cabin retrofit and linefit programmes, as well as the recent relaunch of Alaska’s Airbus fleet. Recaro says that, by the end of 2022, it will surpass a 50K pax milestone with their long-term customer.

“Our partnership with Alaska exemplifies our commitment to next-level customer relations and we have learned so much from one another over the years,” commented Sunitha Vegerla, General Manager at Recaro Aircraft Seating Americas. “With Alaska’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, it’s more important than ever for Recaro to be in lock-step with our partners.”

The companies have collaborated to develop unique seating options for passengers, including the design of the CL4710, which is used as a business class seat on Alaska aircraft, and the BL3530 high literature pocket, which increases living space for passengers and reduces seat weight by allowing for a slimmer seat design and maximises high-density layouts.

“Recaro and Alaska stand at the forefront of innovation as we work towards enhancing the passenger experience while navigating rising industry demands for lower environmental impacts,” said Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO at Recaro Aircraft Seating and Recaro Holding. “Our design engineers offer lightweight solutions while leading the way with seat quality and comfort that Alaska and their passengers have come to expect.”

“We stand for care at Alaska and a big part of how we demonstrate care is through our thoughtful, high quality product touches,” Sangita Woerner, SVP of Marketing and Guest Experience at Alaska Airlines. “Since 2012, Recaro has played a leading role in helping us deliver incredible comfort, convenient features and reliability for our guests. As we continue to deliver our new fuel-efficient 737 MAX fleet and begin to refresh our 737 NG interiors, we appreciative of the decade long partnership we’ve forged with Recaro.”

Unum_Business Class seats_Feb 2022

Unum Aircraft Seating joins Green Cabin Alliance

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Unum_Business Class seats_Feb 2022

Aircraft business class seating manufacturer Unum Aircraft Seating is joining the Green Cabin Alliance as its first seating manufacturer member.

The Green Cabin Alliance strives to decarbonise the industry by bringing together like-minded organisations involved in the design, manufacture, usage and disposal of parts and products for aircraft cabins and identifying strategies to sustainably operate.

Elina Kopola, Founder of the Green Cabin Alliance commented: “We recognise Unum’s commitment to local, sustainable manufacturing practices, and we believe the company to be an example of best practice in aviation. As an early adopter of the alliance, Unum’s input will be hugely valuable as we shape guidelines and educate the wider industry on the impact decarbonising the aircraft cabin can have on an airline’s overall carbon footprint.”

Chris Brady, CEO of Unum, said: “Aligning ourselves with the Green Cabin Alliance reinforces our sustainable mindset, something we are incredibly serious about. We must all do something to formalise, inform and grow our plans for sustainability and the alliance is pushing forward with all these objectives. Join now!”

As part of the company’s commitment to sustainable practices across the product lifecycle, Unum has developed a part marking system detailing end of life recycling details. The company unveiled its first business class seat, Unum One, in March this year.

Recaro LH CL3710

Lufthansa Group chooses Recaro CL3710 and CL3810 seats for its fleet

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Recaro LH CL3710

Recaro Aircraft Seating has announced its CL3710 and CL3810 seats were selected by the Lufthansa Group to outfit its economy class cabins.

The order consists of nearly 24,000 economy class seats which will be equipped on nearly 100 Lufthansa and SWISS aircraft.

“We are looking back on 50 years of partnership with Lufthansa, and it’s a tremendous honor to still be working alongside them to optimise the passenger journey,” said Dr. Mark Hiller, CEO at Recaro Aircraft Seating and Recaro Holding.

“Our aligned goals for sustainable, comfortable seating solutions has garnered great success for both Recaro and Lufthansa, and I am confident that our CL3710 and CL3810 seats will carry on this tradition of excellence.”

Recaro says the modular design of the CL3710 minimises maintenance and keeps total cost of ownership low. The seats have six-way adjustable headrests with neck support that enhance sleeping comfort for the passenger, and the seat’s amenity flap is built to store personal smart devices for added convenience.

The CL3810 economy class seat will be retrofitted on both SWISS A330-300 and Lufthansa B747-8 aircraft. The seat has added living space and premium comfort cushions with layered foam and innovative ergonomic technology and is 15% lighter in comparison to its predecessor.

A highly customised version of Thompson Aero Seating’s VantageXL First fully flat-bed seat has entered into revenue service with Virgin Atlantic

VantageXL First enters revenue service with Virgin Atlantic

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A highly customised version of Thompson Aero Seating’s VantageXL First fully flat-bed seat has entered into revenue service with Virgin Atlantic

Thompson Aero Seating has revealed that a highly customised version of the company’s VantageXL First fully flat-bed seat has entered into revenue service with Virgin Atlantic.

The innovative configuration of the VantageXL seating range allows the option for a seamless two-class cabin at all-business-class density, effectively providing airlines with first class ‘for free’. Virgin Atlantic has taken advantage of this, offering passengers another level of luxury within the same density as a traditional all-business-class cabin.

Virgin Atlantic has named its exclusive new front-row enhancement its luxury ‘Retreat Suite’. The carrier’s A330-900neos feature two Retreat Suites in the centre front row. These exclusive suites provide additional personal space for relaxation, fine dining, or sleeping. The fully flat beds are 78.9” and each passenger has a 27” touchscreen TV with Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging. There is also an ottoman that doubles as an extra seat, enabling the passenger to dine with a friend or to increase the sleeping space.

Andy Morris, VP Commercial for Thompson Aero Seating commented: “We have taken great pride and satisfaction in working with Virgin Atlantic to create this truly exclusive option. The VantageXL offers Virgin Atlantic passengers an extremely comfortable and enjoyable flight. The bonus of the VantageXL First suites – the Retreat Suite – is an added element of indulgence, and an extra draw for customers, with no additional LOPA demands. It really is a win-win for passengers and airlines alike.”

Henry Buckley, Design Manager at Virgin Atlantic said: “In true Virgin Atlantic style, we have elevated the functionality, styling and features within our latest Upper-Class cabin, as we strive to develop innovative products and services that create memorable experiences for our customers. The VantageXL suite is a fantastic product, and our enhanced front-row offering, known as the Retreat Suite, is a particularly exciting addition to the cabin.

“It’s our most spacious suite yet. These two exclusive seats, with lots of extra space, storage and bigger screens, give our customers the opportunity to connect with each other in-flight, and engage with shared experiences for up to four people to enjoy. We are thrilled that our newest product is now in service and we hope that our customers are as delighted with it as we are.”

Spirit Airlines' enhanced Haeco seats

Spirit Airlines reveals new, more spacious seats

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Spirit Airlines' enhanced Haeco seats

Spirit Airlines revealed its new Vector Light and Vector Premium for the Big Front Seats at the APEX EXPO 2022 event in Long Beach, California, where Inflight Editor Satu Dahl got to experience them in person and spoke with Lania Rittenhouse, Vice President of Guest Experience, Brand, and Communications for Spirit Airlines.

Manufactured by HAECO Cabin Solutions, each Vector Light seat is wider, includes an extra cushion and has many new, more comfortable features.

In 2019, Spirit announced a completely new-look interior with roomier & ergonomic seats, a larger tray table, and additional pre-recline on every row, and the carrier continues to build on that milestone with key seat changes based on feedback from passengers.

Spirit says the redesigned interior will be installed on its new aircraft deliveries starting in late January 2023. In total, 33 new A320 Family aircraft are planned for delivery throughout 2023.

Lania Rittenhouse, Vice President of Guest Experience, Brand, and Communications for Spirit Airlines, said: “Our cabin refresh in 2019 was a significant enhancement in the guest experience, and these new seats are another great step forward in increasing value for our guests. We’re adding new features while at the same time continuing to provide More Go with our same ultra-low fares.”

Spacious look and feel

Each seat will gain a half-inch of width, and Rittenhouse explained that the new seat technology unlocks previously unused space with a design that fits closer to the wall of the aircraft, creating an opportunity to increase seat width. This innovation also supports the optimisation of cabin operations by adding the extra room without removing space from the aisle to ensure fast boarding and deplaning for Guests. Spirit’s middle seats will continue to be an inch wider than aisle and window seats.

Spirit seats feature innovative curved seatback designs that unlock space at the knee level and this additional space amounts to about two more inches of knee space compared to flatback seats on legacy airlines with the same pitch.

All seats will have newly added headrests and the Big Front Seats are seeing changes in design to include more cushion, nearly an inch more pre-recline, easier to reach tray tables and a wider seatback.

Better for the environment

The new seats also have an environmental benefit, as the weight of each new Vector Light seat will amount to a decrease of nearly 11 ounces per seat thanks to advances in seat frame technology. These small changes have outsized effects in a large-scale operation, Spirit says, resulting in sizeable reductions of fuel burn across the fleet.

STELIA Aerospace rendez-vous business class seat

Stelia Aerospace launches new staggered Business Class seat

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STELIA Aerospace rendez-vous business class seat

Stelia Aerospace has launched a new RENDEZ-VOUS Business Class seat.

Stelia says its new staggered Business Class seat is one of the widest on the market and is designed to meet the expectations of the most demanding travellers, offering the highest level of comfort and luxury.

Thierry Kanengieser, VP Cabin Interior STELIA Aerospace commented on the launch: “When you’re travelling far, thousands of miles from home, all you desire is to feel like you would at home. With RENDEZ-VOUS®, our brand new Business Class staggered seat presenting a unique sofa seating comfort, airlines can offer their passengers an outstanding travel experience with a perfect ‘at home’ feeling while flying.”

The seat is designed to feel like a comfortable and vast sofa and integrates the backrest into its back shell.  The seat also combines comfort and liberty, freeing passengers of any constraints in terms of position due to headrest or armrests.

The seat is available in both a ‘Solo’ and ‘Honeymoon’ (duo) configuration to meet the needs of all types of passenger experience, from high level business trip to luxury leisure travel, and offers several features optimising comfort that include:

  • 100% direct aisle access for all passengers;
  • Spacious and comfortable full flat bed (single or double);
  • Large privacy door, turning the seat into a wide and comfortable private suite;
  • Full privacy divider that enables passengers to work or read while the others can rest.
American Airlines new Flagship Suite® premium seating

American Airlines to introduce new premium seating

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American Airlines new Flagship Suite® premium seating

American Airlines has unveiled the reimagined interior design on board its long-haul fleet.

The design includes new Flagship Suite® premium seating, with the airline saying premium seating on its long-haul fleet will grow more than 45% by 2026. American Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 aircraft will have 51 Flagship Suite seats and 32 Premium Economy seats on board, while the carrier’s A321XLR aircraft will feature 20 Flagship Suite seats and 12 Premium Economy seats. The deliveries of the carrier’s new Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft are beginning in 2024.

The new suite seats will offer customers a private premium experience with a privacy door, a chaise lounge seating option and more personal storage space. “We are enhancing the customer experience across their entire journey with American,” American’s Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath said. “The arrival of new long-haul aircraft and the customised seat design of the Flagship Suite® seats will offer customers a truly private premium experience on our long-haul fleet.”

Retrofitting the Boeing 777-300ER fleet

American says it will also be retrofitting its 20 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to include the new seats from late 2024. The aircraft will feature 70 Flagship Suite seats and 44 Premium Economy seats. The carrier will also retrofit its Airbus A321T fleet to align those aircraft with the rest of its A321 fleet.

American Airlines was the first carrier in the United States to debut long-haul Premium Economy seats back in 2016.

Thompson Aero Seating’s new enhanced VantageXL. Aesthetics and styling created in conjunction with Factorydesign.

Thompson Aero Seating reports increased activity for wide-body seating

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Thompson Aero Seating’s new enhanced VantageXL. Aesthetics and styling created in conjunction with Factorydesign.

Thompson Aero Seating says it is seeing an upsurge in interest from airlines regarding new twin-aisle projects for aircraft such as the A330 and B787.

Airlines are looking at seats such as the manufacturer’s VantageXL, which the company enhanced and enriched in 2022. Thompson Aero Seating says the seat offers ultimate passenger comfort with impressive personal living space, a fully flat horizontal bed, and 100% direct-aisle access. The VantageXL also includes the option for fully enclosed suites and a ‘Business Plus’ enhanced front row.

According to Thompson Aero Seating, with OEM line-fit programmes taking typically between 24-30 months from the start of the project to the first aircraft delivery, airlines will need to start these projects now to have the capacity available for 2024 when the market is predicted to be fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

For retrofitting existing aircraft, Thompson adds that whilst lead-times are often shorter, anything between 12 to 24 months depending upon the complexity and scope of the project, these again need to be started soon in order to support the recovery.

Andy Morris, VP Commercial for Thompson Aero Seating commented: “It is really positive that we are seeing such strong recovery and renewed interest in wide-body aircraft. We have some exciting projects already underway and will be looking to increase our capacity based upon the current and forecasted demand for our products.”


Unum Aircraft Seating to expand engineering team

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Business class seating manufacturer Unum Aircraft Seating is growing its team. The company is seeking individuals that have finished university and are passionate about engineering to support the ongoing development and certification of its launch product, Unum One.

The company says various positions are available for engineers who thrive working in an agile and dynamic environment.

Chris Brady, Executive Chairman and CEO, Unum commented: “Since February 2020, we have been honing our capabilities, people and first business class seat. Now that we’ve successfully launched Unum One, we are eagerly beginning the next stage in our journey and require additional support in the form of graduate engineers.

“We’re passionate about giving our engineers the right tools and space to flourish at Unum. We ensure that they manage each project from start to finish, including the design, testing and building of their component – we call this Renaissance Engineering. This method provides the team with unmatched experience and allows them to develop a variety of skills. Engineers have access to mentors, work with some of the very best people in the industry and have regular communication with leading suppliers in business class seating.”

Lachlan Brennan, Design Engineer, Unum noted: “I was initially drawn to Unum’s culture and the chance to own your projects from beginning to end. Seeing your design go from concept to final manufacture is extremely rewarding. At Unum, you’re also surrounded by a great team who are passionate about their work, as well as having open communication, which is refreshing. The team is so supportive and always happy to help me to develop my skills set or listen to my ideas.”

Prospective graduates require a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering or equivalent. Candidates should also have strong capabilities in aerospace CAD design, material choice and hands-on product assembly.

You can learn more about the current graduate job openings at Unum here.