Bahraini flag carrier Gulf Air has signed contracts totaling approximately US$20 million, appointing Avianor, Zodiac Aerospace and B/E Aerospace as partners for the retrofit of its A330 fleet, following a successful bidding tender process through the Bahrain Tender Board.
Gulf Air’s planned A330 retrofit, scheduled to be completed in the last quarter of 2014, is part of the airline’s on-going re-fleeting and product enhancement strategy. A complete transformation of the current A330 seat configuration will allow for the introduction of 30 fully-flat bed seats from B/E in the airline’s Falcon Gold Class, 184 revamped Zodiac seats in economy and the introduction of a “state-of-the-art” Zodiac IFE system throughout.
Designed specifically for Gulf Air and integrating features based on feedback from customers, the new 22in-wide Falcon Gold seats convert into fully-flat beds measuring 1.90m in length and offer more personal space between seats than the airline’s previous A330 business-class product. The new economy seats offer a 4in recline, an 18in seat width, and an adjustable head and foot rest.
All seats will include individual touchscreen AVOD IFE (15in in Falcon Gold and 9in in economy), high-quality headphones and a USB port. A suite of movies, video and audio titles in several languages will be available, in addition to games.
Gulf Air’s acting CEO, Maher Salman Al Musallam commented, “At Gulf Air we strive to ensure we meet the needs and wants of our passengers, which is why we have dedicated the time and focus to designing the new A330 product. For the first time ever we have integrated passenger comments and feedback during the development stage of the seats’ design to ensure we meet their requirements. We strive to offer a best-in-class product and with the new A330 seats and IFE we believe we do. Furthermore, we have selected three of the best industry partners to support us with the successful execution of this project, which will only serve to enhance the final product offering.”
Avianor has been appointed to act as “turn-key provider” for managing the programme, with responsibility for the engineering, certification and installation of the upgrade. Earl Diamond, CEO of Avianor commented, “Avianor has worked very closely with Gulf Air over the past year in helping define this project and we are very proud to have been selected to lead and implement this very important upgrade. Avianor’s strong team of 300 employees are committed 100% towards the success of this retrofit and to ensuring the project meets its completion deadline – the last quarter of 2014.”
Zodiac Aerospace is supplying the economy seats and the seat-centric IFE system. By combining both their seats and IFE technologies in a single source solution, Gulf Air will benefit from receiving pre-certified seats with an integrated IFE solution – unique on an A330 aircraft, according to Zodiac.