February 6, 2017 – South African Airways (SAA) has revealed the cabin designs for its widebody fleet of new A330-300 aircraft. The two-class interiors build on the brand identity and design language that its design consultants – PriestmanGoode – developed for the airline’s short-haul fleet in 2014.
A core element of the project was the development of the color palette throughout the aircraft, which contrasts the dark anthracite of contemporary South African architecture and cityscapes with what PriestmanGoode’s designers describe as, “the rich saturated golden tones of winter sun and earthen landscapes”.
Above: The stowage shroud was the focus of much customization work. For a full set of images, visit our Gallery HERE
Those natural tones include highlight colors such as burnt reds and bold blues, applied carefully to lend visual interest through brand panels and feature stitching, and small areas such as stowages where it maintains visual interest throughout a long flight. The South African landscape and certain SAA brand assets is referenced in patterns on the materials and finishes, including a series of bespoke prints, which featured in THE A320 DESIGN, but have been updated in coordination with SAA’s branding agency, CUB3D. The prints are inspired by traditional African crafts, textiles, basket weaving and furniture.
Kim Thipe, head of marketing at SAA explained, “In 2014, we began working with PriestmanGoode as part of a long-term program to address the overall visual language of SAA across its passenger touch-points through a brand refresh. We wanted to create a strong identity that was both reflective of South Africa’s rich cultural heritage and designed to appeal to both domestic and international passengers. As a flag-carrying airline, we understand that we represent people’s first and lasting impressions of South Africa, so investing in our passenger experience represents a commitment to our travelers.”
Above: Other Vantage XL customers include SAS, Delta, Aer Lingus and Qantas, but this version is distinctly SAA’s seat
Thompson’s popular Vantage XL seat was selected for the business class cabin, customized to differentiate it from other airlines flying this model, as well as to ensure consistency with the appearance of the Geven Comoda seat used on SAA’s A320 program. Part of the attraction for this seat model was its flat bed measuring close to 2m in length and its direct aisle access benefits.
Customization work on the seat included creating a covered and upholstered personal stowage area with two separate compartments, one for valuables such as jewelry and small electronic devices, and the second for notebooks or small laptops. A key point of differentiation from Vantage XLs on other airlines is the personal stowage shroud, a prominent feature to the side of the headrests – not least because of its burnt red trim – which also integrates seat features such as the passenger reading light, headset hook, in-seat power sockets and seat controls.
Another major feature of the seat is the shroud for the 15in IFE monitor, designed to give the seat an appearance more domestic than transport in feel, again trimmed in burnt red. The shroud also features a soft stowage/stand for tablet devices that enables passengers to watch content on the device in comfort, or to use a tablet for dual screening.
For the economy class cabin (pictured below), as with its A320s, SAA has selected a Geven seat, subtly customized upholstered in fabric with a bespoke pattern inspired by contemporary African crafts, including touches of vibrant blue on the headrests and in the stitching details.