Finnair will install flat-bed seats seats in eight more of its long-haul aircraft beginning in January 2014.
The Zodiac Seats UK Vantage-model seats selected by Finnair are already in use on the airline’s four newest Airbus A330-300 jets.
Each Vantage seat is designed to provide a fully flat bed of up to 200 centimeters (79 inches), with a shoulder-room width of 58cm (23in). The fully adjustable seats also come with an individual reading light, an adjustable head rest, mood lights and a range of in-flight entertainment options.
Once the installation program is completed by autumn 2014, all of Finnair’s long-haul Airbus fleet will have flat-bed seats in Business Class, with the exception of three older Airbus A340-300s.
These three aircraft will be the first to be removed from the fleet when Finnair begins taking delivery of new Airbus A350 XWB widebodies in 2015.
Finnair says its total investment in flat-bed seats, including replacement investments, will be approximately €29 million ($38.9 million).
“The full-flat experience has been very well received by customers in Business Class,” says Anssi Komulainen, Finnair’s senior vice president, customer service. “We believe that the key to Finnair’s success in a very competitive market is to differentiate on service and this substantial investment in the comfort of passengers helps us in this long-term aim. Full-flat seats are the new standard for quality-conscious customers, and for Finnair.”
Its move to standardize on flat-bed seats in its long-haul Business Class cabins is the latest initiative by Finnair in a series of renewals and upgrades aimed at improving customer experience.
Last October, the airline announced a design collaboration with Finnish design house Marimekko, whose textiles and tableware will bring a new visual dimension to Finnair’s widebody-aircraft interiors from this spring. A revamp of meal choices is also underway in both cabin classes.
Finnair currently operates eight A330-300s and seven Airbus A340-300 widebodies on its long-haul network, which now reaches 13 destinations in Asia as well as New York and Toronto (seasonally) in North America.
The airline is due to begin taking delivery of 11 new Airbus A350-900 jets in the latter half of 2015 and holds options on eight more. It appears likely that all of these aircraft will be delivered with flat-bed seats already installed in their Business Class cabins.
Finnair says its new A350-900s will help the airline double its revenue from Asian destinations by 2020. Finnair, a very early customer for the type, will be the first European airline to operate the A350 XWB.