Image: Airbus

Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace announced a new partnership at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this week to develop sleeper berths for aircraft.

The partnership is looking to develop modules which would slot into aircraft cargo compartments. These modules would be easily interchangeable to suit the needs of a particular flight. Airbus said that the modules would “offer new opportunities for additional services to passengers, improving their experience while enabling airlines to differentiate and add value for their commercial operations”.

The first of the modules will be available to airlines from 2020 for A330s with both retrofit and line-fit options. Designs for sleeper modules for A350 XWB airliners and A380s are also being considered.

As well as sleeper compartments, Airbus has released mock-ups of a possible lounge module, a conference room, a medical care zone, and a kids and family zone complete with a slide.

Images: Airbus

With the introduction of longer flights to airline schedules, such as the new London to Perth route from Qantas, passenger comfort is becoming increasingly important. There has been talk of exercise areas or even gyms onboard passenger aircraft in the past and these modules could bring that idea closer to reality.

The Head of Airbus Cabin Crew and Cargo Programme, Geoff Pinner, said: “This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort. We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups. We are pleased to partner with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will introduce a new passenger experience and add value for airlines.”

Christophe Bernardi, CEO of Zodiac Aerospace Cabin Branch, added: “We are delighted to work with Airbus on this new and innovative project, which reaffirms our expertise in lower-deck solutions. An improved passenger experience is today a key element of differentiation for airlines.”

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