One of the big announcements at Aircraft Interiors. Expo was Airbus and its partnership with Zodiac Aerospace to develop compartments that can used on the plane that are based off cargo modules. I did a very brief write-up, but I’ve had a bit more time to think about it (as well as chat to a few people on the concept).
Video – Airbus. Used with permission
And the pretty 3D rendering
So let’s look at the concept and work through it. The idea is that 3 modules on an A330 or 4 modules on an A350 could be installed in cargo positions (for example – when loads are light and less cargo is being carried). Examples include:
- Bunk beds
- Meeting space
- Social spaces
- Medical Spaces
Of course, there are concepts…
Concept images – Airbus/Zodiac
Here’s the scale model that Airbus and Zodiac came with to Aircraft Interiors Expo.
The modules themselves are based on cargo modules – and thus Airbus say that a module can be swapped over during a normal turnaround time that an aircraft is on the ground (e.g., a module being needed for one mission segment, then rolled off and swapped with normal cargo containers.
When shown off to airlines, the most popular options has been the bunk bed option as opposed to any other – and could represent an interesting place to generate a revenue stream
The modules themselves sir on the current cargo floor and loading system, with no re-certification changes needed.
In terms of infrastructure – this actually isn’t new infrastructure as the primary access already exists on A330 aircraft, and to a point – exists on A350XWB aircraft, so in time, operability on the A350 is being studied – with the A330 going first.
The modules will offered on the A330 family from 2020, in both a retrofit and line-fit markets as part of the certified solutions for their wide-bodied products.
With Zodiac and Airbus working together on delivering crew rests for some time in the belly of the plane, it seems the two partners are well suited to develop a solution that can utilise the space the space. Whilst I have some issues with the 30 minutes or so to add or remove a module into the belly (least of all, there will need to be interconnects to plane systems that can be done reliably and safety, external type covers when swapping units, unit preparation and a variety of issues I haven’t thought about), the concept seems an interesting one.
Will it fly? That’s the big question.
Economy Class and Beyond was a media guest of Airbus at Aircraft Interiors Expo.
We’re continuing look back at Aircraft Interiors Expo with things that caught my eye – or things that deserves more than the cursory quick post from the floor of the exhibition
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