First it was ‘cargo class’ where passengers could exercise on extremely long-haul flights it the cargo hold. Now, designers have come up with a way of making a cargo hold a ‘bedroom in the sky’. Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace have partnered to develop and market lower-deck modules with passenger sleeping berths that would fit inside an aircraft’s cargo compartments. These would offer “new opportunities for additional services to passengers,” say France-based Zodiac.
This will improve their experience while enabling airlines to differentiate and add value for their commercial operations.
The new passenger modules will be “easily interchangeable” with “regular cargo containers” during a typical turnaround if required. Moreover, the aircraft’s cargo floor and cargo loading system will not be affected at all, as the passenger module will sit directly on it.
“This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort. We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups. We are pleased to partner with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will introduce a new passenger experience and add value for airlines,” says Airbus cabin and cargo programme head, Geoff Pinner.
“We are delighted to work with Airbus on this new and innovative project, which reaffirms our expertise in lower-deck solutions. An improved passenger experience is today a key element of differentiation for airlines,” says Zodiac Aerospace Cabin Branch CEO, Christophe Bernardini.
Airlines will initially be able to choose from a catalogue of certified solutions by 2020 on A330 for retrofit and line-fit markets.
Offerability of sleeper compartments on the A350 XWB airliner is also being studied. The innovation builds on both Airbus’ and Zodiac Aerospace’s experience in producing and integrating lower-deck crew-rest facilities.