International aerospace group, FACC, has launched LAV4ALL, a barrier-free aircraft lavatory design designed to benefit all passengers, including those with reduced mobility (PRMs). The retrofit unit is claimed to offer more internal space than typical lavatories, without any increase in its external dimensions so cabin density and galley space are maintained.
FACC has worked to make the LAV4ALL aircraft lavatory easy for PRMs and passengers with other impairments such as poor eyesight or hearing difficulties, to access and use during a flight, through improved accessibility, increased space, and enhanced ease of use. An important aspect is that the design can remove the need for crew assistance for such passengers, reducing stress and maintaining dignity.
One key feature is that the door opens at a right angle to the aisle, which blocks visibility from other passengers as the guest enters the lavatory. As soon as the door is closed, crew have unimpeded access to the galley.
“The requirements of aircraft toilets are very high: optimum usability and functionality, the highest standards of hygiene, but also economic acquisition and operation are important criteria. With the ‘LAV4ALL’ our experts, together with external development partners, have designed a comprehensive optimal solution and brought it into serial production”, said Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC AG.
The design has been realised with development partners including Netwiss OG, Rodlauer Consulting, TU Wien, Raltec research group, FH Joanneum, and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, as well as funding partners such as the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK).
At the initial phase of development, PRMs were consulted in order to ensure that their individual needs and wishes would be met with the design.
“Access to the lavatory was one of the most important issues. We wanted to offer enlarged space, inside the lav, which is as generous as possible. The diagonal entrance means that the area available for movement has become wider, which makes transfers easier. Now the facilities can be used without assistance“, stated Robert Braunsberger, VP of FACC’s cabin interiors division.
“If the lavatory is in the rear cabin area of an aircraft, a wheelchair user can make a U-turn in the galley and enter the lavatory more easily. All handles, levers and switches are exactly adapted to special needs such as height or size; they are accentuated with colours as well as optimised for use,” he added.
FACC has developed LAV4ALL as a retrofit solution for the A3SA aircraft family, particularly its external dimensions. Upon request, retrofit solutions for other aircraft types for short, medium, and long haul will become available. The lavatory will be promoted globally by FACC Aftermarket Services, together with its distributors and MRO stations.