New Titanium Airline Seat Could Save Millions in Fuel Costs
Airlines are always looking for ways to save on operational expenses. So the prospect of being able to save millions of dollars a year on fuel costs by reducing the weight of the passenger seats in their cabins may be too much for them to pass up. That’s the hope of a French start-up that has engineered a new passenger seat made mostly of titanium.
Paris-based Expliseat SAS has recently begun selling a radically different airline seat, which it is calling the Titanium, to air carriers for use in the economy sections of narrow-body jets such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families. The new “seat” is actually a connected three-passenger row of seats that dramatically cuts the weight and complexity of traditional airline recliners. The Titanium Seat, which also uses low-weight composite materials, each weigh in at 8.8 pounds per passenger, about half that of a traditional seat. Moreover, the three-seat assembly requires only about 30 working parts, much fewer than the 500 or so parts employed in a conventional seat on a jetliner.
To simplify things even more, Expliseat partnered with Iffstar, a French research center specializing in transport technologies, to come up with a seatback construction that “reduces inter-vertebra shocks,” according to the company. And the fixed backrest has been “pre-reclined” by 18 degrees instead of offering a conventional recliner mechanism. The backrest, just two-inches thick (with a non-sliding tray table), is made from a “technical textile” that is able to absorb shocks from the knees of passengers sitting in the row behind.
The company said the lightened weight load applied to a single-aisle aircraft’s economy class section could result in an estimated 3- to 5-percent fuel saving, or $300,000 to $500,000 per aircraft per year. Factoring the number of vehicles in the fleet of a budget-themed airline could translate into savings of many millions of dollars of savings a year. Just this March, after receiving approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Expliseat signed its very first customer for the Titanium Seat offering, netting charter airline Air Méditerranée, which will test the concept onboard one of its Airbus A321s.
“With this [EASA] certification, the reliability of our seat has been confirmed, proving it can provide both safety and passenger comfort. The Titanium Seat is a substantial technical achievement, combining robustness and performance, and it breathes new life into the aircraft seat market,” said Benjamin Saada, Expliseat CEO.