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Air France invests in technology to renew its line of aircraft seats

Interview with Eugenie Audebert, business experience manager of Air France


Unsurprisingly, the manufacturing of aircraft seats requires a highly technological approach. This is increasingly true, especially since airlines are now engaged in fierce competition to ensure passenger comfort as a selling point. Where’s the line between customer satisfaction and technical constraints? This is the right time to address the issue at the almost simultaneous launch of the business and first classes of Air France.



Launch of the business and first class of Air France
Launch of the business and first class of Air France
i-tourism: You are about to change your range of aircraft seats, starting with that of the business class. What are the developments from a technological point of view going to be?

Eugenie Audebert: "Today it is the materials that will bring forth the most significant changes: they are stronger, more resistant and especially lighter, which for a plane is a great advantage.."

i-tourism: What are the main motivations that inspired renew your product offer?

EA: "It is a set of reasons. Gaining in weight and therefore making fuel savings is important to us, but other factors also come into play…

Innovations are bountiful in our industry and also the competitive pressure always inspires us to move forward and place the needs of our customers at the heart of our strategy."

i-tourism: Exactly, you talk about your customers' expectations. For brands like yours, this narrative is normal. But how to satisfy their demands knowing that Zodiac is your provider. It has its own manufacturing constraints that are not necessarily those of Air France?

EA: "To answer your question specifically, we must first explain how we function. The first step is to conduct a survey of our travelers. We collect their complaints, which allows us to develop a specific file of requests in order to help us find the best supplier with the highest bid.

Then we ask for a customized seats to stick more to our customers’ requirements."

"Providing us with a competitive advantage"

Eugenie Audebert, business experience manager of Air France
Eugenie Audebert, business experience manager of Air France
i-tourism: Does this entail additional costs?

EA: "Undeniably, but we know where to draw the line: between customer satisfaction and the right quality for value ratio in line with our development program.

As for Zodiac, we chose it due to its positioning.

Its seat price was one of the best in the market. Then we asked to make the improvements that we deemed necessary. "

i-tourism: Like what for example?

EA: "To give the right legroom. This always appears in the demands of travelers.

Moreover we can understand why, since this aspect is poorly developed in the market offers. We asked Zodiac to address this problem. They changed the tablet that was in one piece to provide more space.

In this case it is indeed a constraint imposed by us, at the expense of a strict manufacturing logic.

That's the kind of adaptation that we brought. We considered that this request was not superfluous to give us a competitive advantage. "

"Everything is technology"

i-tourism: Let talk about the business class seat itself, what are the improvements?

EA: "The first information to give you, is that we are improving largely and you will quickly understand what we mean. Our cabins were redesigned to go from 7 to 4 seats per row.

This extra space allows us to offer more privacy, customers no longer need to climb over their neighbors to get through, and they can especially enjoy a fully horizontal bed.”

i-tourism: And in terms of technological improvements what can you tell us?

EA: "Yes, a larger screen: 16 inches with more than 200 movies, 150 TV programs, a tactile remote control, more digital options and more entertainment...

You see, everything is technology, even entertainment. It is part of our customers' expectations. "
"Providing more legroom"
"Providing more legroom"

Written by Rémi Bain Thouverez translated by Joséphine Foucher the 15/06/2014
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