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Flydubai's inside job pays dividends...

Posted 7 February 2011 · Add Comment

Marcelle Nethersole looks at the world-first interior for Dubai's low-cost carrier.

Dubai-based flydubai is reaping the reward after taking delivery of the first 737-800 to feature the new Sky Interior from Boeing last October.

“We are very proud we were the first to offer our passengers an enhanced on-board experience with the brand new Boeing Sky Interior,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai. “We have achieved much in our first 16 months of service and will continue to bring our passengers the best product offerings on one of the newest 737 fleets in service. The Sky Interior fits our identity.”

The flydubai 737 is also the first aircraft to enter revenue service fitted with a Lumexis fiber-to-the-screen (FTTS) AVOD IFE system.

Al Ghaith explained: “The FTTS system is revolutionary because it uses fibre optics rather than traditional copper piping. This significantly reduces the cost of the system and makes it far lighter than other IFEs in use today. Any reduction in weight reduces our fuel costs and, therefore, ensures we can keep our ticket prices low.
“The system is incredibly flexible and we are working closely with Lumexis to develop it. Our IFE will be available as an optional extra, in the way that baggage and meals are. Passengers will have the ability to choose different parts of it, depending on their preference and how much they want to spend. And, as flydubai likes to do things differently, we plan to offer functionality that other airlines traditionally don’t have.”

The 737 Boeing Sky Interior is the first of the newest generation of aircraft interiors to fly in revenue service. And, certainly, passengers are benefitting from a completely improved package since the Next-Generation 737 was introduced back in 1997.

“The superior passenger experience is the result of many years’ work by Boeing employees and suppliers,” said Boeing regional director, Kent Craver.

“This interiors philosophy was developed through extensive, ground-breaking research, which included a focus on what we, as humans, need during air travel. The bottom line is, passengers are bored when they sit on a plane so we thought we needed to engage people. When we looked at ways to improve the passenger experience, a psychologist told us that we needed to create a separation between events on the ground and in flight and that this separation is created naturally when people are welcomed. We developed the interior architecture to provide this welcome and to meet both the articulated and unarticulated needs of passengers while on the aircraft.

“It was a challenge,” admitted Craver. “But what our engineering team ultimately came up with is a suite of changes that are relatively simple to make. In fact, a number of these modifications could potentially be retrofitted as interchangeable parts that operators could use in place of current airplane components.”

The 737 Sky Interior cabin features economy seats made by Recaro – although there are also extra legroom seats available – modern, sculpted sidewalls and window reveals. New, larger stow bins allows them to accommodate more bags than before, while taking up less space in the cabin. An assisted mechanism on the bins gives easy access, and as they pivot up and out of the way, it offers more headroom around the aisle seats.

“Airlines can select from different lighting schemes that range from a welcoming, soft blue overhead sky simulation to a calm, relaxing, pallet of sunset colours,” said Craver.

“The LEDs (light emitting diodes) are brighter and replace incandescent signage, attendant and halogen reading lights. With an estimated 40,000 hours between replacements, LEDs last 10 times longer than the previous standard of lights.

“Other features that passengers will appreciate are a quieter cabin, intuitive placement of switches and call buttons, and improved sound quality and clarity through new speakers in each passenger row.”

The Next-Generation 737 interior upgrade is being followed by a performance improvement package that will deliver a two per cent reduction in fuel burn through an aerodynamic clean-up, and revised CFM56-7B Evolution powerplant.

Craver explained that this package will begin certification testing soon and will be fully in service by early 2012. “The package will make the airplane a full seven per cent more efficient than the first Next-Generation 737 delivered.”

Since flydubai took delivery of the first 737 to feature Sky Interior, a total of 60 airlines and leasing companies have ordered the new interior for 1,689 of their aircraft.

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