British Airways has today unveiled newly-designed seats and cabin interiors for its short-haul aircraft flying across its European and domestic networks from Heathrow and Gatwick.
Fitting-out work begins this week on the first of the 95 Airbus short-haul aircraft**, installing elegant new designs that take inspiration from the airline’s most recent fleet entrants, the A380 and Boeing 787.
The elegant charcoal grey leather seats are slimmer and ergonomically designed to enable the addition of extra seats in the Euro Traveller (economy) cabin to allow more low fares.
Innovative design maximises personal space and comfort, with chair backs devised to provide more knee space for the customer behind. Customers can also make use of an eye-level seatback tablet-holder, which can also provide storage for magazines. A four way moveable headrest provides comfort and support. And the seat back table moves in and out to provide optimum positioning.
The new Club Europe, featuring a silver British Airways speedmarque on the front wall, will maintain its 2:2 configuration with the middle seat free. The seats will be bridged with a stylish new ‘central console’ table, providing Club customers with improved functional space. This table provides inlaid leather mats for drinks, snacks and personal devices, freeing up the main table for work or a meal.
Contemporary LED lighting systems, inspired by the airline’s newest long-haul cabins, will include blue tones for boarding, a relaxing candlelit mood for dining and a restful gentle white for cruising and landing.
As part of its investment in short-haul for Club Europe customers, British Airways has also recently invested in significant re-designs of its domestic lounges in Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Keith Williams, British Airways’ executive chairman, said: “The short-haul landscape has changed enormously in recent years. To stay competitive and keep offering customers choice, great fares and great service, we are giving our cabins a radical makeover. There will be a new look, but the traditional British Airways’ comfort, elegance and value will remain.”
The new cabin is a testament to British design. The new seats are manufactured by B/E Aerospace in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, the leather for the seat covers and pads on the ‘central console’ is supplied by Andrew Muirhead & Son Ltd in Glasgow and the decorative stitching on the Club Europe seats has been developed by Prototrim, a car seat design and dressing specialist based in Milton Keynes.
The new interiors, to be fitted across the Airbus fleet over the next 12 months, are the most dramatic of a series of changes to the airline’s short-haul flights. It has already introduced a range of new fare options including hand-baggage only, semi-flex and day returns, which are proving enormously popular with customers. Following the success of day return fares from London, the company will today start rolling out day return fares for European travellers coming to London.
The new cabins will also deliver significant environmental benefits, saving an estimated five per cent in CO2 per passenger/km, contributing toward the airline’s target of reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
To enhance its short-haul services British Airways is in discussions with Inmarsat about leading Europe in a new era of broadband in the air. Starting with UK domestic routes they intend to roll-out Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network giving customers the internet access they expect on the ground while in the air.
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