European aircraft giant Airbus announced on Tuesday that it is teaming up with Zodiac Aerospace to develop and market lower deck sleeping facilities for passengers that could be operational in A330 wide-body jets from 2020.
The sleeper compartments "would fit inside the aircraft's cargo compartments," Airbus said in a joint statement with Zodiac, a subsidiary of the French aerospace company Safran.
The modules "will be easily interchangeable with regular cargo containers,"the statement said.
Airbus and Zodiac said the sleeping berths would not only improve passenger comfort, but also enable airlines to add value for their commercial operations.
"This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort," said Geoff Pinner, head of Airbus' cabin and cargo programme.
"We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups."
Christophe Bernardini, head of Zodiac's aerospace cabin division, said the project "reaffirms our expertise in lower-deck solutions. An improved passenger experience is today a key element of differentiation for airlines."
In November 2016, the Air France-KLM had put forward the idea of sleeping berths for passengers in the economy class, either down in the hold or above the cabin in aircraft of the group's new low-cost subsidiary, Joon.
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