Two women execs at Thompson showcase the premium aircraft seatmaker's new logo on a coffee mug, whilst standing in front of the logo displayed on the white wall behind them.

Rebranded seatmaker Thompson stays trend-savvy as it readies for AIX

Details and Design banner with text on graph paper backgroundAs ‘premium leisure travel’ and ‘partner travel’ trends accelerate post-pandemic, fast-growing premium aircraft seatmaker Thompson Aero Seating is fielding increased interest from airlines for solutions that enable couples to cozy up in-flight.

The Portadown, Northern Ireland-headquartered company, which has just come through a rebranding exercise that focuses on creativity and inclusiveness, might be seen as being particularly well placed to meet the needs of this demographic.

Thompson’s popular full-flat Vantage product for single-aisle aircraft — which can be found on narrowbodies flown by Aer Lingus, JetBlue, TAP, SAS and others — already encompasses sets of double seats and individual thrones.

A photo snapped from the throne seat in the second row of JetBlue's Mint cabin. The seats are Thompson Vantage, and alternate between doubles and thrones.

Vantage on board a domestic JetBlue A320. Image: Mary Kirby

Additionally, Thompson’s VantageXL platform for twin-aisle aircraft, which underwent a refresh last year, now features more width in seat and bed mode, and the option of honeymoon-style seating for passengers travelling together.

Thompson Aero Seating VantageXL seat is consistant to rich tones of greys and light browns.

The covered storage option on VantageXL can act as a mini-divider, or indeed not. Image: Thompson

“We continue to receive much interest in the Vantage seat and for [Aircraft Interiors Expo] AIX 2023 we have developed a further optimised Vantage seat for the A321. That said, we are aware of the feedback from our airline customers that there is an increase in ‘premium leisure travel’ and that this may drive a requirement for enabling and increasing ‘closer proximity’ seating solutions within the Business Class cabin,” Thompson chief commercial officer Andy Morris tells Runway Girl Network in advance of the show.

“Naturally airlines want their premium seats and products to appeal to as wide a selection of travellers as possible and we are seeing more interest in configurations such as the ‘Honeymoon’ VantageXL, which offers increased appeal to companion travellers, whilst also offering privacy for individual flyers.”

Virgin Retreat Suites are pictured. Two large seats, in dark brown covers, sit side-by-side. Purple LED lights cast a pretty glow on the surrounding furniture. A large white pillow sits on each seat.

Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo Retreat Suite is based on the Vantage First product, itself derived from the doored Vantage XL+ Image: John Walton

At AIX 2023 next month in Hamburg, Germany, Thompson will be displaying its full premium seating product portfolio. “This will include new and enhanced versions of the Vantage, VantageXL, VantageSOLO, and VantageDUO,” Morris tells RGN.

“There are some exciting new developments including a pending new arrival to the Vantage range of products,” he reveals.

Rotation

For passengers who fly up front on single-aisle aircraft, but who also value more privacy, such as classic business travellers, Thompson’s VantageDUO paired angled seat holds appeal.

Angled towards the windows, VantageDUO offers a fixed shell, zero-gravity deep recline that can help take the strain off of weary frequent flyers. While recliner seats typically have a maximum 110 degree of recline, VantageDUO offers 130 degrees.

“Following very positive feedback at the 2022 [AIX] show we decided to run a full development test programme in conjunction with one of the OEMs so that by the opening of AIX 2023, we will be able to engage in detailed conversations with potential launch customers,” say Morris in reference to VantageDUO.

VantageDUO is pictured here in grey tones with a blue pillow. They are on an aircraft.

With VantageDUO, each passenger’s legrest-supported feet tuck underneath the seat in front. Image: Thompson Aero Seating

Thompson Aero Seating is clearly heading to AIX with a spring in its step. In addition to developing new seating platforms, and honing current products to meet passengers’ evolving needs, the company in 2021 started undergoing a rebranding exercise, with the aim of updating its identity to match its evolving ethos.

The fruits of its labour went live today as Thompson unveiled a new logo, a new website, and a new strapline — ‘Together, we inspire’ — all aligned with the strategic direction of the company, which is part of the AVIC Cabin Systems Group.

Two women working at Thompson Aero having a coffee.Thompson explains in a statement that inspiration is the key to its vision, with the company “looking to create an inspired flying experience”.

“We have worked hard to channel our long-established ethics and integrity with a new level of operational excellence and innovation. The new brand marks a new horizon. But we have not forgotten our roots,” says Morris.

“Thompson Aero Seating has always been about people — those who work for Thompson and those with whom we work. We look forward to continuing true partnerships with our airline customers, new and long-standing, to design and deliver inspirational products and services of the highest quality.”

A group of Thompson Aero employees are holding up mugs with the new logo.In time, Thompson’s work to deliver inspirational products will be aided by the construction of a new world-class Dynamic Test Facility (DTF) in Northern Ireland.

Announced in November 2022, the facility will enhance the seatmaker’s ability to crash test and certify new products for airworthiness and carry out R&D work without needing to leave the factory.

Meanwhile, the company’s new logo will start to appear on correspondence, social media, signage, uniforms and more. The full rebrand process will culminate with Thompson’s stand at AIX next month in Hamburg.

A sunset cloud backdrop with Thompson Aero's logo and a man in the center looking up

‘Together, we inspire’ is Thompson’s new strapline, which, says the firm, incorporates the creativeness, vision, and brilliance seen at every level of input to the business, and through partnerships, along with its people-centric approach. Image: Thompson

Related Articles:

All images credited to Thompson Aero Seating