With the recent launch of Air Belgium, legacy carrier Brussels Airlines has had to make sure it keeps its product offering competitive. Not surprisingly, they turned to JPA Design, a London-headquartered company that has brought the likes of premium carriers Singapore Airlines and Finnair to life, as well as other mid-level carriers such as Hawaiian Airlines and FlyDubai.
With Brussels Airlines’ brand sitting somewhere between premium and mid-level, it makes sense for the airline to approach a design company who is able to respond to both. Partnering with JPA Design the carrier will re-imagine a new look and feel for its Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class on its wide-body aircraft, with a key focus to reflect the airline’s “customer-friendly approach”.
The retrofit program will have a brief to capture the fun and vibrant personality of the airline’s brand, the all-new product range encompasses the entire cabin interiors, nose to tail, and will launch at the end of 2018.
Commenting on the new partnership with JPA, Tanguy Cartuyvels Vice President Product and Marketing of Brussels Airlines, said: “Recognized for its expertise in designing premium cabin interiors, JPA is the right partner to respond to our needs. Our new cabin in all three classes will not only reflect our DNA, but also offer our guests top notch comfort.”
As Air Belgium has opted for the same hard product as Brussels Airlines currently offers in business class, and introduce a dedicated premium economy cabin, it would be fair to say Brussels Airlines will need to invest in a product that is a step above, and in many ways the current product is dated in comparison to those offered on other European carriers and lacks the attractive Premium Economy product.
While details are scant, we’ve come to know JPA’s design aesthetic. With such a tight turnaround for the project, we will see off the shelf products, and being part of the Lufthansa group, we could expect synergies in product offering here. Swiss for example stepped up a similar seat to a customised Thompson Vantage seat. We hope that to remain competitive JPA will suggest the XL version to offer every passenger aisle access.
John Tighe, JPA’s Design Director of Transport leading the cabin design project said: “Brussels Airlines is a very strong and powerful brand, having a deep connection with their customers through operating long-established long-haul flights to Africa but also to the US and India. The user experience we’re creating is vibrant, and achieves the rare success of being on-brand upon first view, whilst having a depth of design which reveals itself as you relax into your own personal space. There is a trend for many brands to talk about being ‘human’, but Brussels Airlines has been living this philosophy for many years and can truly offer a characterful and warm experience throughout. ‘We go the extra smile’ is their mantra and it is JPA’s mission to capture this friendly vibrancy throughout the entire cabin.”
The colours and trim will be harder to perfect, as Brussels Airlines brand colours of navy and red do little to reflect ‘human’ and their marketing materials which utilise bright neon-esque colours might suit a low-cost carrier, but not of a legacy carrier. To be taken seriously and to reflect this human element, expect to see a smart residential cabin where detailing will offer the ‘Belgitude’ the carrier embodies – most likely think Magritte murals in the toilets, or Tintin popping up on the menus or something similar.