Molon Labe Seating plans to reveal the launch customer for its S1 staggered short-range economy class seat at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in April.
At the Future Travel Experience conference in Las Vegas last September, Molon Labe mentioned an airline order from an unidentified Chinese operator, which also includes a joint venture with a yet-to-be-revealed partner based in China. However, founder of Molon Labe Hank Scott has confirmed that the launch customer for its S1 staggered short-range economy-class seat, which will take delivery of the seats just weeks after AIX, is a “different airline on a different continent.” The order is also believed to be a sizeable one.
This is a major turning point for the Denver, Colorado-based company, which has spent almost a decade designing and developing its innovative seating solutions. Molon Labe has three seat designs – the S1 Staggered Short-Range, the S2 Staggered Long-Range and the original S3 Side-Slip Seat.
The S1 features a wider middle seat compared with traditional seats – 21 inches rather than 18 inches – thanks to an innovative staggered design.
The S1 features a wider middle seat compared with traditional seats – 21 inches rather than 18 inches – thanks to an innovative staggered design, with the middle seat positioned slightly lower and behind the two seats either side, with the armrests also being staggered. The design provides more living space for all passengers. The seat is also light at just under 9kg.
The S2 long-haul version is based on the same staggered principles, also providing a wider middle seat, as well as embedded widescreen in-flight entertainment.
Both seats evolved from Molon Labe’s S3 Side-Slip Seat which was originally aimed at low-cost carriers, with its sliding seat design intended to speed up the boarding process by increasing aisle space, as well as providing a wider middle seat. Molon Labe subsequently worked with BMW Designworks to refine a design for the long-haul market, resulting in the S2.
The company is particularly keen to promote the S2 to Qantas for its ultra-long-haul Project Sunrise. Scott, who is himself Australian and has endured many hours traveling in economy class between Australia and the United States, believes the S2 will be perfectly suited to the Project Sunrise requirements.
Scott points, for example, to Qantas’s recently revealed passenger research on ultra-long-haul travel where a “sense of separation” was top of passengers’ wish lists. “Our long-haul staggered airline seat does just that – offer a staggered layout and even headrest partitions to economy class passengers,” says Scott. “Being an Aussie myself who constantly flies Sydney to LA, I plan to push really hard for Qantas to consider our S2 – the widest seats in any economy class,” he says.
The S2 will also meet passengers’ wishes for “broader IFE,”,with the S2 offering up to 18.5 inch screens – the largest in the economy class market, adds Scott.
Molon Labe has presented its products to Qantas over the years, but will submit a formal response to the Project Sunrise seat request for proposals as soon as that is issued, says Scott. Qantas issued the aircraft RFP for Project Sunrise late last year and is expected to make a decision on either the Airbus A350 or Boeing 777X this year. The airline is looking to launch non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to New York and London in 2022.