Lufthansa A350-900 at the hangar in Munich. The aircraft is called Leipzig, which is painted on the side under the word Lufthansa in blue against a white backdrop.

Allegris debuts on A350 as Lufthansa Group grows PaxEx prowess


Lufthansa Group subsidiaries have long developed in-house proficiencies in the passenger experience realm. From Lufthansa Systems’ wireless IFE for narrowbodies and semi-embedded tablet IFE concept, and indeed its work to help airlines go green, to Lufhansa Technik’s original equipment innovation projects including patient transport units and even the near decade-ago ‘chair’ seating project for business aviation, the Group is no slouch when it comes to honing autogenous expertise.

But a raft of new Lufthansa Group-related PaxEx projects have the potential to play an even wider role in industry. For example, the AERENA open IT platform from AERQ, a joint venture between LG Electronics and MRO giant Lufthansa Technik, is now flying aboard an Airbus A320 operated by the Group’s leisure carrier Discover Airlines, and AERQ is ready to support the wider airline market.

There’s seat work within Lufthansa Group as well. After supply chain constraints delayed development of mainline Lufthansa’s new Allegris first class suite for the Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa Technik took up the mantle to develop the product itself for the jumbo jet. (Because Lufthansa’s A380s are exiting the fleet by the end of the decade, the carrier is taking a different approach for the double-deckers; it intends to retain its current first class product but install an “all-aisle access” business class product to hold it over until retirement.)

A long time coming, the Allegris program is simply massive, and will see mainline Lufthansa update a large portion of its intercontinental fleet, including A350s, 747-8s and Boeing 787s, with new Allegris cabins. It will also accept delivery of these aircraft types — plus Boeing 777-9 twinjets — with the new interiors. It is hoped that the first 787-9 featuring Allegris business, premium economy and economy linefitted at the Boeing factory, will arrive by the end of 2024. Lufthansa expects to have 120 aircraft flying with Allegris by 2027.

During an event at the Lufthansa Hangar Munich at Germany’s Munich Airport, Lufthansa showed off its first widebody with Allegris, a brand-new Airbus A350-900 that will launch revenue service from Munich to Vancouver on 1 May.

A350-900 in the hangar

Lufthansa hosted a gala event in Munich with its first Allegris-fitted A350. Runway Girl Network attended as a guest of the airline. Image: Mary Kirby

Developed in tandem with design house Pearson Lloyd, the groundbreaking modular multi-seat business class cabin alone features seven seat types including options that can be booked depending on the travel experience required — whether solo and working privately or travelling sociably with others.

Picutred: Lufthansa Allegris front row, biz-plus middle pair enabling a more social experience if chosen. Blues and beiges color the scene of two suites, one in bed mode, and large IFE screens.

Allegris looks smart. Large 4K screens aboard the new A350-900 are from Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI). Image: Mary Kirby

A first-of-its-kind heating and cooling system from Caynova enables passengers to control the temperature in their suites.

Lufthansa Allegris standard baseline business seat, all-aisle access but no door.

Lufthansa has created a private environment in business even in suites without doors, seen here on the A350-900. Image: Mary Kirby

A large mounted touchscreen, meanwhile, enables passengers to customize their environment and entertainment.

Close up of the crisp touchscreen for environmental control.

SPI is providing the touchscreens for the A350s, seen here in front row biz-plus. Image: Mary Kirby

Lufthansa tapped multiple seatmakers to supply seats for Allegris, including Collins Aerospace, Thompson Aero Seating and Stelia for up front products, ZIM for premium economy and Recaro Aircraft Seating for economy class. This decision was by design, confided Lufthansa CEO Jens Ritter during yesterday’s big reveal of Allegris aboard the A350-900, which is fitted with all but the first class suites due to manufacturing delays. The suites will arrive in late August or September.

“We needed to make sure that we are not dependent on one manufacturer. It’s pretty important. Also, it’s relative to buying aircraft either from Airbus and Boeing; it’s the same situation for the seat suppliers. We trust our manufacturers, but we need to have choice,” said Ritter.

The Allegris business-plus seat is pictured.

Lufthansa has tapped multiple seatmakers for business class. The very private front row, business-plus doored suite in this image features a very high thermoplastic surround plus ample storage (including a closet), a 24″ IFE screen and even a cooler for drinks. Image: Mary Kirby

Given the fact that Lufthansa Technik is developing the Allegris first class suites for the 747-8, and the extensive retrofit work that it will execute to bring Allegris to life on in-service widebodies — it should be able to pop out two aircraft retrofits per month once all Service Bulletins are in place — Runway Girl Network asked if there is any interest at Lufthansa in becoming a seatmaker itself in time.

“Really good question and in all honesty, we have thought about that,” revealed Ritter, “but there is no decision made yet.”

The Lufthansa Allegris first class suite in bed mode with white linens.

Allegris first class is delayed on the A350. And Lufthansa Technik has opted to develop the product for the 747-8. Will it become a formal seatmaker? Time will tell. Image: Lufthansa

Meanwhile, even as Lufthansa Technik gains further seat expertise, its AERQ joint venture with LG is now on the march in inflight entertainment, with the AERENA system flying on Discover Airlines.

If the AERENA program continues to track as planned, Lufthansa mainline could add the system to some aircraft types, Lufthansa Group senior director Paul Estoppy confirmed to RGN in Munich.

Curved AERQ IFE in a Geven seat.

One of AERQ’s latest innovations, a curved IFE screen for premium classes, made the shortlist for the 2024 Crystal Cabin Awards. Image: AERQ/Geven

For its part, AERQ is presently working to secure supplemental type certification (STC) for AERENA on other aircraft types. Discover Airlines director product & marketing Maximilian Meintgens recently said: “The insights we gather during the test phase will make an important contribution to the further development of the inflight entertainment experience for the entire Lufthansa Group.”


Adding another PaxEx feather to its cap, meanwhile, Lufthansa Technik is also providing the radome for Hanwha Phasor’s new multi-beam electronically steered antenna for commercial aviation. And the MRO provider has even danced with the idea of entering the inflight connectivity market more directly, but reckons a more likely scenario would be to pipe such work through AERQ.

And so, whilst Lufthansa is celebrating its big Allegris debut on the A350-900, and its partners are quite rightfully proud of their contributions, another story is brewing: will Lufthansa Group become a bigger player in the aircraft seating and inflight entertainment & connectivity world?

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Unless otherwise states, all images credited to Mary Kirby