Air Transat shows off new $4 million A330 cabin interior
The complete redesign touches every aspect of the cabin, providing wider, leather-covered seats, individual entertainment systems, and new LED mood lighting, with different hues selected for the various phases of the flight.
Friday May 18th 2012 - by Oliver Johnson
The first of Air Transatâ€™s Airbus A330s to feature a new $4 million cabin interior was shown to the media this week. The complete redesign touches every aspect of the cabin, providing wider, leather-covered seats, individual entertainment systems, and new LED mood lighting, with different hues selected for the various phases of the flight.
The refurbishment has also created a lighter aircraft, with the A330s shedding two tonnes despite the addition of weight in individual video screens. Allen B. Graham, president and CEO of Air Transat, said the desire for a lighter aircraft was one of the key elements for the company as it began the design process, adding that the lighter planes will each provide annual savings of $313,000 in fuel costs â€“ and also release 852,000 kilograms less CO2 in to the atmosphere.
â€œAt the end of the day it really is a win-win,â€ said Graham. â€œWeâ€™re happy with the product and weâ€™re happy with the impact itâ€™s going to have on the environment as well.â€
The $48 million refurbishment of the fleet of 12 A330s will be completed gradually over two years, with the first completed airplane already in service on the airlineâ€™s Montreal-Paris route. The second and third refurbished aircraft are set to be in service this summer, running the Toronto-London and Vancouver to Europe routes from June 18.
Air Transat endured a difficult 2011, and returned a net loss of $29.5 million in the first quarter of 2012, but Graham said the refurbished interiors should help the company return to profit. â€œThis is just one part of our integrated strategy on how weâ€™re going to return to profitability and weâ€™re absolutely convinced that we will.â€
Inside the plane
The new layout inside the cabin has allowed the seat capacity to be raised from 342 to 345 â€“ and this is despite wider seats (0.5 inches in economy, 2.5 inches in club class) and between 1-1.5 inches more legroom in economy. Where has this space appeared from? A smaller club class â€“ itâ€™s been reduced from 21 seats to just 12, allowing the airline to put an additional 12 seats in economy while giving everyone more room.
The seats themselves are made from Italian leather, chosen for its harder-wearing nature and luxurious feel. Headrests are moveable in four ways (six in club class) for improved neck support and comfort, while individual nine-inch touch screen entertainment systems in front (12 inches in club class) offer a wide selection of tv shows, movies and the ability to create a personalized playlist from a 30 CD selection.
One aspect of the redesign the company seemed particularly happy with was the new lighting system. Offering eight different â€œmoodsâ€ for various phases of the flight, ranging from Air Transatâ€™s official soft blue (during boarding) to a lavender and peach (when the aircraft is cruising), the airline said lighting would now play a major role in the travel experience of its passengers, and could also help to reduce jetlag. Those taking night flights can look forward to a six-minute cycle from the night setting to the cruise lighting, designed to simulate a sunrise and provide a gentle, gradual waking.
The lavatories have also been redesigned, and now have full-length mirrors, decorative laminate materials and new fixtures.
Graham said the upgrades should help the airline as it seeks to differentiate its product offering to the consumer. â€œThe end goal very clearly was product segmentation, and the ultimate goal of course was to enhance the customer experience â€“ at the end of day thatâ€™s what this is all about,â€ he said.