The Recaro Aircraft Seating (Recaro) CL6720 business class seat with doors took flight in Iberia’s A350 cabin on the route from Madrid to Buenos Aires in January 2023. A total of 31 CL6720 seats are outfitted in the A350 business class cabin. The premium economy and economy cabins are also fully equipped with the Recaro PL3530 and the CL3710, respectively.
Iberia is the launch customer for the new business class seat. Each CL6720 features sliding doors for extra privacy, ample living space with a 79-inch-long full-flat bed, and is configured in a honeymoon layout with electronic full-length privacy dividers for the center seats and direct aisle access. Each CL6720 projects the seat number on the cabin floor.
SWISS unveils new wellness design concept
Photo credit: SWISS
Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines has unveiled “SWISS Senses,” a new cabin design concept designed to support well-being. The new concept—for First-, Premium Economy- and Economy Class cabins—are designed by PriestmanGoode and will be offered from 2025 on Airbus A330-300 long-haul flights.
Pictured, the SWISS First Class cabin offers total privacy with lockable sliding doors, spacious wardrobes and a color concept that exudes comfort and warmth.
All seating classes will feature new Human Centric Lighting which helps reduce jet lag’s effects. A new state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with bigger screens and connection options for personal devices will also be provided in all travel classes.
HK Express to launch A321neo flights with Recaro economy seats
Photo credit: Recaro Aircraft Seating
Recaro Aircraft Seating’s SL3710 economy seats take flight for the first time on HK Express’ A321neo. The maiden flight will take place in April 2023.
This is the first-ever order of RECARO seats by HK Express, and with the upcoming retrofit, the total seat order exceeded 4,000. The lightest seat in the RECARO portfolio, the SL3710 was customized for HK Express with a custom-made artificial leather dress cover and advertising frame on the backrest.
Qantas unveils new A350 Safran seats
Photo credit: Safran Seats
Qantas revealed its new business- and first-class seats for Project Sunrise, which operates direct 18-22-hour flights between the east coast of Australia, Europe and North America. For each aircraft, Safran Seats will supply 52 business class suites with a door. Qantas selected Unity, the latest addition to Safran Seats’ business class portfolio. Unity provides a wide seat and a parallel, rectangular bed to ensure utmost comfort on the longest travel routes. There are multiple options for the stowage of personal items, including console “cubby” stowage, under ottoman bag stowage, a large literature pocket and a closed accessory case. It also features plentiful surface space with a large console and large single piece dining table.
In first class, Safran will supply six bespoke suites per aircraft. Each suite includes a fixed bed with an adjustable backrest and a separate seat. There are numerous stowage areas designed for passengers to be able to unpack in their suite, with a wardrobe, vanity cupboard and pyjama drawer. There is a substantial table to allow dual dining, a touchscreen suite controller and 32-in. screen.
Startup Fly BeOnd to launch A321neo flights with Optimares lie-flat seats
Photo credit: FlyBeOnd
Dubai-headquartered all-premium leisure carrier Fly BeOnd plans to launch Airbus A321neo operations from the Maldives this summer, using aircraft configured with 68 Optimares lie-flat seats. BeOnd is positioning itself as a boutique airline, offering a “first-class travel experience,” with more direct scheduled flights to the Maldives than any other operator. BeOnd’s A321neos will operate in an all-premium class configuration with no middle seats.
Previously known under the project name of ‘Arabesque,’ BeOnd began detailing its ambitious plans in early 2022. The startup aims to create a network 60-80 destinations from the Maldives, growing to a fleet of 32 aircraft and up to 2,500 staff over the next five years.
The onboard product will include carbon-fiber hardshell lie-flat Vivaldi business class seats, designed by US branding agency paulwylde and Italian seat manufacturer Optimares.
A look at Condor’s new A330neo business class
Photo credit: Safran Seats
Condor’s new Airbus A330neo long-haul aircraft offers business-class passengers four Prime Seats in the front row of the cabin, a bigger bed, a “visitor” seat, an extra-large 24-inch 4K monitor and other benefits. Business class also offers Safran Skylounge Core fully-lie-flat sleeper seats, which can be converted into a 6.5-ft-long flat bed.
Starlux, Collins team up to offer A350 Elements business class suite
Photo credit: Starlux Airlines
Taiwan-based Starlux Airlines’ Airbus A350 fleet began flying Collins Aerospace’ Elements suite on flights early this year. Elements is a premium Business Class suite that can be further enhanced to a First Class offering without decreasing passenger count. In addition, the new features Collins’ Secant Luminous Panel, which brings to life unique artwork created for the Starlux brand.
SWISS extends premium economy seats to A340 fleet
Photo credit: SWISS
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) embarked on the Premium Economy Class installation program for its Airbus A340-300 fleet in December 2022. The first aircraft was completed and flew from Zurich to Johannesburg at the end of January 2023. All four SWISS Airbus A340s will feature the popular new class of travel by April. From the same date, Premium Economy Class will also be newly bookable for SWISS services on the Zurich-Johannesburg, Zurich-Hong Kong and Zurich-Chicago routes.
SWISS has already installed Premium Economy Class throughout its Boeing 777-300ER fleet, whose first aircraft was completed at the end of February 2022. SWISS was the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to introduce the best-in-class Premium Economy seat, which has a pitch of almost a meter (3.2 ft.) and its 48-centimeter (1.6 ft.) width.
Kuwait Airways to introduce A330neo new seats
Photo credit: Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways will implement seat design changes for the different travel classes aboard the Airbus A330neo, which will roll out in the middle of next year. The airline has a total of seven A330-900s on order and has taken delivery of four A330-800s.
According to CEO Eng. Maen Razouqi, the Elite Class will have seats that can be converted into fully flat seats, equipped with an 18-inch screen, as well as USB type A and C ports, in addition to wireless charging and Bluetooth service.
Comfort+ or Comfort Plus classes, which are characterized by the possibility of reclining up to 10 inches, providing a footrest for more comfort, a control unit and privacy divider features for the headrest and equipped with 18-inch screen with USB Type A and C inputs.
Comfort Class, that are characterized by reclining up to 6 inches, with an articulated seat base and U-Dream headrest, in addition to providing 12-inch screens and USB port of Type A and C.
Air China A350 takes flight with Recaro business seats
Photo credit: Recaro Aircraft Seating
The Recaro Aircraft Seating (Recaro) CL6720 business class seat took its first flight in Air China’s A350 cabin on the route from Beijing to Chengdu on Jan. 20, 2023. In addition to the CL6720 seat, Air China also selected the Recaro PL3530 and CL3710 for the A350’s premium economy and economy cabins, respectively.
The “mini-suite in the sky” was first unveiled in 2020 and was built to enhance the travel experience with additional privacy features and premier living space. With the lightweight structure, combined with the efficient seat configuration, the CL6720 can save airlines thousands in fuel costs and help reduce their carbon footprint. The Air China customized seat features include a Chinese-style lamp in each suite, upper stowage with a uniquely-crafted drawer, specially-made privacy dividers, and an Air China customized inner soft-touch back-shell.
Air France 777-300ER long-haul cabins take off
Photo credit: Air France
The first Boeing 777-300 ER equipped with Air France's latest long-haul cabins took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to New York-JFK Jan. 20, 2023. Named "Fontainebleau," this aircraft serves Rio de Janeiro airport in Brazil and Dakar.
In the Business cabin (48 seats), the airline’s completely redesigned iconic seat features even more enveloping curves and extra comfort. This seat’s design is based on the 3 “F”s – Full Flat, meaning that the seat transforms into a real bed almost two meters long, Full Access, providing all passengers direct access to the aisle, and Full Privacy, ensuring optimal privacy.
Cabin comfort is back, especially for premium classes. However, some airlines are implementing new seat designs for all travel classes.
Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.