Airbus Zodiac

Image: Maxim Sergienko

APEX Insight: Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace are partnering to develop  modules, including passenger sleeping sections, that can be easily fitted to A330 aircraft. Both companies said they expect the modules will be certified and available for airlines by 2020.

Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace today announced a partnership to develop lower-deck modules that include passenger sleeping sections. In a joint statement, they said the modules will be certified and available for airlines to install by 2020, initially on A330s. Airbus also said it is studying the possibility of adding sleeper compartments on board A350XWBs.

Geoff Pinner, head of Airbus Cabin and Cargo Program; Jörg Schuler, Airbus’ senior vice-president, Procurement Cabin; and Christophe Bernardini, Chief Executive Officer of Zodiac Aerospace Cabin Branch announced and signed the partnership agreement at a press event in the Airbus booth at AIX.

“An improved passenger experience is today a key element of differentiation for airlines.” – Christophe Bernardini, Zodiac Aerospace

“We’re putting out a new product, a new way of offering services to passengers,” said Bernadini. “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.”

Airbus Zodiac sleep modules

Image via Airbus

The new passenger modules will be interchangeable with normal cargo containers and won’t affect cargo loading systems. Responding to APEX Media, Pinner explained that modules could be used in a variety of ways depending on what a certain airline customer wants. “It could be used for leisure, for meeting rooms or it can be a first-class dining restaurant.” He also said the modules could be changed on an overnight layover flight. “They’re attached by the cargo load and fully integrated without any complex installation work.”

“We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups.” – Geoff Pinner, Airbus

“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,” said Pinner. “We already have sleeping compartments for the crew on A330s and also have some toilets. These aircraft have already got structural modifications so it’s an easier upgrade and conversion to do, it’s a natural evolution.”