Like many things in the aviation industry, there are always one or two major suppliers in most cases dominating the industry, whether its Boeing or Airbus, Rolls Royce or GE and within business class seats let’s face it, Collins Aerospace or Safran, but there are just as capable competitors on the fringe. Recaro and Thompson Aerospace have done a good job of carving out some of the market share, but the latest to start attracting attention is Adient Aerospace.
But why is this new contender, officially launching in 2018, causing a stir? “We drew upon our automotive expertise and heritage in comfort and craftsmanship to design seats with function and finishes unlike any others. In late 2019, LIFT by EnCore was acquired by Adient Aerospace, adding economy seating to our portfolio. Today we have completed certification of our first business class seat Ascent and are in the production phase, having made deliveries to our first customers. We’re no longer a startup company, but a reliable seating partner,” states Trystan Parry, Vice President of Sales & Product Support.
But on the surface Adient Aerospace’ Ascent seat looks like any other reverse herringbone on the market. So why would the likes of Hawaiian opt for such as seat, when a new seat to the market usually comes with its own EIS challenges? Well that’s exactly the purpose of Ascent, it was designed specifically to be more reliable, easier to maintain and a better supply chain to reduce delays and complexities.
But for the customer, it’s a totally new beast. Ascent is a full lie-flat seat developed for wide-body aircraft bringing luxury automotive seating standards to commercial aviation passengers. “Craftsmanship is the process we employ to improve the quality and value of the product throughout the design and manufacturing of Ascent. It’s not only functional, but comfortable, consistent, and provides harmonious surfaces for the ultimate passenger experience,” continues Parry.
For those traveling alone, every Ascent seat offers a totally private suite with the use of a sliding privacy door that seals off and encloses the passenger away from all aisle traffic. For passengers traveling together, the centre seats become a shared space when the privacy divider is fully lowered, creating the ‘Cabana Suite’ where couples can enjoy a movie or meal together. It’s this concept that makes it close in approach to Qatar’s QSuites, one of the reasons why the industry believes this will be the next Qatar Airways business class seat, although this rumour is yet to be confirmed.
While it’s not revolutionary, that’s sometimes a good thing, refining already existing products that always trying to challenge the norm, with the passenger being the unfortunate Guinea Pig while the industry tries to advance.
So instead, the familiar reverse herringbone product has been improved, including heating and ventilation built in to the seat, wireless charging, Bluetooth audio jacks in every seat, a sliding door (naturally) all built around a 78″ fully flat bed.
“We recently completed the engineering and certification of Ascent and are in the production phase, having already delivered our first set of seats to our launch customer. It’s one accomplishment to be satisfied with your design concept, but to carry that through to a realised product that is certified to fly and exceeds the customer’s expectations is something we’re proud to have achieved in less than 3 years from the time our company was founded.”
Designed for the 787, 777, A330 and A350, Ascent is designed to challenge today’s business class seat proposition, and one thing is for sure, additional choice to the market is only usually a good thing. The seat will enter the market soon, sadly only delayed because of delays to airline’s deliveries because of today’s world.