MarketLine Blog

Airline seating patent demonstrates the importance of innovation to the future of passenger air transport

The recent filing of a patent by French manufacturing group Zodiac Aerospace for an innovative high density seating solution for single aisle passenger aircraft has caused a stir in the industry. By configuring the seats into an offset facing pattern, the space between seats is claimed to increase by 15%, offering each passenger an additional 10cm of available leg room.

Source: Zodiac Aerospace

Source: Zodiac Aerospace

While the introduction of the seating is likely to be some way off, such innovation is indicative of the how the industry as a whole is seeking to meet the challenges of C02 emissions and cost control, which pose a significant threat to the future growth of passenger aviation.

Environmental campaigners including protestors such as the UK group Plane Stupid, which recently protested on a Heathrow runway, advocate a reduction in passenger air travel to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Yet this seems unlikely in a global context, given burgeoning demand in Asia-Pacific for passenger aviation, and the success of short haul carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet in Europe. It may also be unnecessary, as new aircraft such as the Boeing 737 MAX are up to 20% more fuel efficient than their predecessors, as aircraft manufacturers respond to airlines to airlines struggling in the face of high fuel prices seen through the last decade. This in turn reduces CO2 emissions per passenger, which continue to fall as fuel consumption improves.

Reconfiguring aircraft seat plans and redesigning seating is an area which is likely to continue to advance, as airlines seek to reduce costs on a cost per seat measure by increasing the number of passengers per flight.  While Jet Fuel prices have remained lower than the 10 year average throughout 2015, this is unlikely to be sustained in the long term. Therefore continual innovation to cut costs and increase the efficiency of airline operations, is essential to improve the long term viability of airlines through the fluctuations of fuel prices.

More information on the Aerospace & Defense and Airline industries can be found in MarketLine’s  industry profiles and case studies, Advantage subscribers can access the content here, non-subscribers please see our store.

Leave a comment

*Required fields. We will not publish your email address