HAECO Cabin Solutions has launched a product that blurs the line between business class and premium economy, in a continuation of the “trickle down” effect that seems to be taking place inside aircraft across the industry.
HAECO Cabin Solutions, a division of HAECO Americas and a business unit within the HAECO Group, has unveiled its Eclipse Cabin at the 2019 Aircraft Interiors Expo, stating that an undisclosed Middle East airline will launch the product in 2020 once it is certified by the FAA.
“Eclipse was really born out of our observation of the market. New generation business-class products have electronically actuated systems and that has been, until very recently, first-class territory,” Tim Lehnig, SVP Sales for HAECO Americas, told APEX Media. “With very high-end new business-class products, you now have a big gap between business class and premium economy. We want to give airlines the opportunity to move their premium economy product upwards in the cabin.”
Depending on their needs, airline customers can choose an electronically actuated seat, or one that moves naturally with bodyweight, but both take passengers into a “Z-like” position. If they opt for the actuated version, the seat has a single button that takes passengers back to the standard position in one movement.
For Lehnig, one of the main unique selling points of the Eclipse Cabin is that it allows for densification while also improving the passenger experience. HAECO’s official press release said Eclipse can create an up to 14 percent increase in capacity within the same cabin space.
The Eclipse Cabin has already achieved technical viability with Boeing, and David Kelly, VP Marketing and Strategy, HAECO Americas, explained to APEX Media that this figure is based on a 787 moving from a 2-3-2 seating configuration to a 2-4-2 configuration; or a 737 moving from a 2-2 to a 2-3 configuration.
So, how is the passenger space, privacy and comfort improved in this scenario? While Lehnig didn’t give away what he referred to as HAECO’s “the secret sauce,” he said it was a patented combination of “a stagger, an angle and a fixed shell.”
As a monument provider as well as a seating provider, HAECO can create the seat’s fixed shell in-house, allowing for greater customization to suit airlines’ individual needs. And because the design of the fixed shells is flexible, Lehnig said the company can accommodate a range of seat pitches for both the “pitch-conscious” and those wanting to provide a truly premium experience.
According to Kelly, a denser configuration enabled by the seating element of the Eclipse Cabin would allow for a front row monument “that includes a coat closet and a space for galley cart storage, freeing up space in the galley for more carts and additional service levels in that cabin.”
Though Lehnig acknowledged that Eclipse seating is initially costlier than a traditional premium economy seat, he said, “If you look at the maintainability, if you look at the technical underpinnings of the product, it really was born out of a coach-class seat.”
Discussions to make the Eclipse Cabin linefit-offerable are ongoing with airframers.