UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) has responsed to demand for a higher-quality cabin-attendant seat that blends in with upgraded passenger interiors. The program is gaining traction in the market, with both airlines and VVIP customers lining up for the recently revamped product line.
"We took the feedback from our customers, which focused on a higher-quality upholstery and workmanship, and found some alternative suppliers," Brandon Powell, manager of aftermarket product development-seating told AIN. "We listened to the feedback, lined up the new suppliers, and shorted our lead times. Customers are responding."
UTAS (Stand 1076), through its legacy DeCrane cabin management business purchased by Goodrich Corp. in 2014, has a long history in cabin-attendant seating. Most of its product line was sold directly to aircraft OEMs for forward-fit use, which does not place much emphasis on style. As airlines have sought more luxurious passenger cabins in recent years, the cabin-attendant seat has gotten attention.
"You have airlines that are retrofitting their [widebody] cabins, seeking an upgraded cabin feel. We didn't have anything to offer. Now we do," Powell said. "We've raised the bar now with new, higher-quality upholstery options. We're showing airlines that they can take their branding and incorporate it into the [cabin-attendant] seats."
UTAS has developed two distinct lines: its Aspen series caters to Airbus operators, while its Vail line is aimed at Boeing operators. Both lines have two levels: Silver is most often selected for air transport operators, while a more luxurious Gold level is the preferred option for the VVIP market.
The seats are ideally suited for widebodies with long-range missions, such as nine to 10 hours, Powell said. These may not be long enough to justify a full cabin-crew rest area, but still need something beyond a basic jump seat. In some cases, operators of ultra-long-range aircraft equipped with full cabin-crew rest areas are installing the UTAS seats to provide cabin crew with more options.
Both lines meet Class 2 or Class 3 cabin-attendant seating requirements with a few minor allowances, Powell said. These standards include a leg rest with foot support, a 40-degree recline and a certain width at the back. Another requirement, a privacy curtain, is in the works.
Several airlines, including one in the Middle East, have signed up for Silver-level seats for their widebodies, according to Powell. The seats are made to fit the same installation footprint as the basic UTAS seats that many widebodies come with, making upgrades easier.