ITA Airways has signed a cabin retrofit agreement with Airbus Services to upgrade its six A350s-900s. The key feature of the upgrade is the installation of a brand new Premium Economy (PY) class section into the cabin. Completion of the project and re-delivery of the six upgraded aircraft is expected in mid-2024.
Airbus will provide all the Service Bulletins (SBs), including engineering drawings, the kits required for the complete cabin and technical support during embodiment of the solution. Airbus will make available its on-site expertise and support for the customer to guide their first shipset implementation.
Alessio Leone, Head of Camo Operations at ITA Airways says: “We have selected Airbus Services thanks to its OEM expertise, expert engineering know-how, project management, and supply chain management. This project also underscores the importance to us of the Airbus A350 in our widebody fleet strategy and the harmonization of these A350s with the brand new A330neos coming into our fleet. Both aircraft types will offer a four-class configuration: Business, Premium Economy, Comfort Economy and Economy.”
Charbel Youzkatli, Head of Europe Commercial Services at Airbus says: “As our airline customers see the increasing popularity of Premium Economy amongst passengers, Airbus is pleased to be able to help ensure that their Airbus aircraft continue to meet these evolving customer expectations.” He adds: “We are therefore very pleased to be part of this strategic project with ITA Airways and contribute to upholding the passenger experience which ITA Airways is showcasing.”
The installation of the new PY class will involve replacing a section of ‘3-3-3’ nine-abreast economy class (Y) seats, with ‘2-4-2’ eight-abreast Premium Economy (PY) seats. PY is being increasingly sought-after thanks to its yield management benefits for airlines, while reducing costs for business travelers.
As well installing the new seats, the scope of the upgrade will involve the related installation of one additional galley (including interfaces, structure rail, floor panels etc.), class partitions, adaptation of overhead stowages, carpets, seat tracks, cabling for in-seat-power and IFE, new lighting zoning. In addition, the passenger service units (PSUs) will be reconfigured, including oxygen, reading-lights and ventilation. Airbus will also perform the necessary engineering load calculations for the new layout as well as updating the aircraft’s Weight and Balance manuals.
Featured image credited to Airbus