Airbus is in the process of developing a simplified, lie-flat business class seat for A320-family aircraft, utilizing existing economy-seat structures.
Dubbed “Settee Corner”, the design features two, slightly offset seats combined in a single monument – like a sofa – with a flat, end-to-end seating area that can accommodate passengers of as much as 185cm (6ft) in height.
The window-side portion of the seat is angled, and features a larger seating area – serving as the bed’s head end – and a cushioned fold-up panel to enlarge the lie-flat area.
Although the seat can accommodate two sitting passengers in cruise, it is designed for single occupancy, with the traveler sitting in the aisle-side portion for take-off and landing.
Airbus Interiors Services’ business line leader for tailored equipment, Amalia Martinez-Martin, said at AIX 2019 in Hamburg today that the seat was up to 30% lighter than a standard lie-flat business class seat because the new design needed no reclining mechanism or actuators.
Furthermore, she says, the sofa seat is being proposed with a 32in (81cm) pitch – leading to fishbone-style cabin layout – while conventional business seats typically have a 34in pitch.
Martinez-Martin adds that, especially as single-aisle aircraft can be deployed for long-haul flights, the proposed sofa seat will allow operators to offer a lie-flat business product at “very competitive cost of ownership” because it eliminates the need for a complex support structure and can be installed on standard A320-family seat rails.
The sofa seat’s main support structure is derived from an existing, certificated economy seat by Italian manufacturer Geven.
The seat is currently still in a development phase and, Martinez-Martin says, no customer has yet been won by the idea.
She says, however, that Airbus intends to include the seat in the airframer’s buyer-furnished equipment catalog by 2021.