HAMBURG – ATR unveiled a new cabin concept at Aircraft Interior Expo 2022 (AIX) in Hamburg.
The X-Space Table aims to offer passengers new amenities for greater comfort, space, and privacy. It will also make the cabin more spacious, giving it a more exclusive feel.
Is the era of turboprop aircraft coming again? According to ATR, yes. The company, producing well-known ATR 42 and 72, is convincing airlines to replace jets on regional routes with more efficient and environmentally friendly turboprops.
The premise was convincing to some operators for some time. But ATR was not taken in by the lack of an attractive premium product to facilitate the two-class configurations of these aircraft.
On many routes, some of the passengers were very annoyed by the lack of business class, among other things.
This may soon change with the introduction of the ‘X-Space Table’ seating concept, revealed at AIX in Hamburg.
ATR describes X-Space as a ‘plug and play’ solution that allows airlines to convert double seats into premium seats, with the seat back and armrest on one side removed and replaced with a side table.
New X-Space concept
Speaking to Jiezhen LIU LAPORTE who is in charge of ATR’s marketing explained that there is now a greater demand for direct routes. Another important thing is more space and comfort in the cabin.
As a result, carriers are now expecting more two-class configurations, which the new X-Space concept can provide.
Similar to the so-called Eurobusiness style seats, where the middle seat in a row of three seats on a narrowbody aircraft is not sold to provide more space, the X-Space allows ATR operators to offer a 1-1 configuration to support a premium class setting.
ATR also hopes that the interchangeable nature of the X-Space will allow airlines to change the cabin layout on an ad hoc basis. Depending on passenger demand, carriers such as BA do in their business class, offering adjustable curtains and removable center tables.
One possible downside to this concept is that X-Space is not as flexible as the traditional eurobusiness class approach.
That business class where all seats remain intact on board. Instead, parts of the seats that are removed to accommodate the 1-1 configuration must be stored outside the aircraft. This is feasible but still requires additional resources.
Although still in the concept stage, the X-Space boasts other passenger amenities.
For example, there are built-in peripherals for charging the passenger’s devices, which will eventually also have USB and USB-C connectivity, as well as a cup/bottle holder and a table space where personal items or snacks can be placed.
Taking care of the deaf and hard of hearing
Is also worth mentioning a work with the deaf and hard of hearing community to make the aircraft more accessible.
ATR also presented at AIX an induction loop in the headrest of the X-Space aircraft.
This technology generates a localized magnetic field that can be detected and converted into sound by a hearing aid or cochlear implant when these devices are set to the T (Telecoil) position.
ATR has also announced a number of improvements to the cabin of its turboprops.
This includes larger overhead hand luggage compartments to accommodate so-called cabin suitcases. Although the manufacturer says it has yet to find a suitable antenna for internet connectivity.
It’s can help offer a wireless IFE system that allows passengers to stream content from an onboard server.
Overall, X-Space can definitely offer some innovative practices when it comes to a premium class, and could definitely change the way regional travel happens in the years to come.