New Seats for MAS B737 MAX 10 to be Designed by Thompson Aero

23rd Jun 2017

Malaysia Airlines has agreed terms with seatmaker Thompson Aero for the later to design a new fully flat seat with direct access for its Boeing 737 cross-section. MAS will use these in a 150 Economy Class – 16 Business Class seat configuration on its new Boeing 737 MAX 10, which will be used on certain regional routes.

Peter Bellew, CEO at Malaysia Airlines said about the deal with Thompson Aero:

Thompson are coming up with a new design, so it will depend on what the final design is. We’ll be able to be generous with space on that and still be able to get in 166 seats at a nice seat pitch on the aircraft. Believe me, there’s plenty of people in Asia who want a nice business class seat, and I think the timescale we’re looking at here, the growth of the middle class and wealthy people, there won’t be that many business class seats in the market.

He continued:

We’ve been using Thompson Vantage seats at the moment on our refitted widebody aircraft, so we’re talking to Thompson. They’re in development of a pretty cool new seat, so that’s what we’d hope to put on this aircraft, and it’ll be a lovely experience for people on board. A lot of people in Asia, for sure, are looking for premium airline seats. It divides two ways: people either want something really, really nice in business, or down the back they’re looking for a really good value seat. We think we’ll be able to do both on the one aircraft, with unbeatable economics.

Regarding the fact that Boeing MAX 10 has a shorter range than MAX 9, MAS CEO commented that it still fits the airline’s requirements:

I wouldn’t do a split fleet. I’m all about making this airline profitable. We know how well we can work with Boeing, we know how well we can work with CFM, and it’s a bit of a home run and a no-brainer for us. As soon as they started talking about it, I rang Boeing immediately and said, ‘are you really going to do this plane?’ because I had this concept of doing lie-flat. It’s not extraordinarily expensive to do it, but it makes eminent good sense. We’re trying to position the airline as a premium five-star airline over the next couple of years with a business focus, and this really will give us the edge around that. It takes us away from competing with the low-cost world.

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