With its 15 Airbus A330s that will be retrofitted for February 2020, Air France continues its premiumization program.
After the Boeing 777s and some 787s, it's now the turn of the cabins of Air France's 15 Airbus A330s to benefit from the BEST program, the Company's large-scale premiumization operation. A program on a par with its ambitions, as the total investment cost is estimated at 142 million euros.
Launched on 3 December 2018, the first A330 cabin modification project was completed on 1 February 2019. Two days later, the freshly retrofitted aircraft operated the CGD-Accra (Ghana)-Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) rotation. For the rest of the fleet, AFI KLM E&M is hoping to achieve a faster turnaround, with one aircraft modified per month until 29 February 2020.
In terms of design and innovation, "This is a veritable great leap forward, says Samuel Reynard, AFI Project Manager. Comfort levels, functions and design will be markedly improved in all cabin classes. This is the case in particular with the new IFE system. Now delivering touch-screen HD quality, these new screens are equipped with the RAVE entertainment system, supplied by Safran Aerosystems, adds Samuel Reynard. Now with solid experience in the integration of IFE systems on different types of aircraft, the certification of the IFE installation on these A330s will have been entirely carried out by AFI KLM E&M's DOA (Design Organization Approval). What's more, the cabin retrofit also includes inflight Wi-Fi access and the Air France CONNECT offering".
In Business Class, passengers will benefit from the Equinox 2D seat designed by Stelia Aerospace, a French Airbus subsidiary. The seat, which folds out to full-flat position, measures 2m in length and is 57.1cm wide. It is equipped with a wide, 18.5" (47cm) screen. The seat in Premium (like that in Economy) is manufactured by Safran Seat. It reclines to 130° in a rigid shell, with a seat pan width of 48.5cm and a seat pitch of more than one meter. It is also equipped with a mains electricity socket and two USB outlets, lumbar support, additional storage, a wider footrest, and a 13.3" (33.9cm) screen. In Economy, the seat has more space between armrests, an ergonomic foam cushion, a recline of 118°, a seat pitch of 79cm, a larger tray and an 11.6" (29.8cm) screen, together with a shared laptop power socket for two passengers.
The co-engineering carried out throughout the product development phase by AFI KLM E&M teams with its various suppliers has resulted in optimized products for passenger comfort and a guaranteed reliability throughout the operation of the A330s.
40,000 hours of engineering
Other modifications to improve comfort levels for both passengers and cabin crew have been included. Among the products renewed (30 in all) are the toilets, the galleys, the separations, and overhead baggage lockers developed specifically for the cabin configuration desired by Air France.
In the DOA component, the figures speak for themselves. Two years of research and work, plus 40,000 hours of engineering were necessary to carry out the project. Some 3,000 parts have been ordered, and 300,000 will be fitted to all the aircraft.
The specific Galley & Toilets decompression and ventilation studies were carried out by AFI KLM E&M's engineering teams.
The integration of new non-Airbus standard toilets in the Business zone required an in-depth study on the problems of smoke in the cabin: this study, carried out under the competence of the DOA, made it possible to avoid the flight tests traditionally required for this type of toilet integration.
This is a substantial human and financial investment that will enable AFI KLM E&M to expand its cabin modification experience and knowledge on Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s.