A big thanks to FlyerTalk’s Oliver2002 for pointing out a recent Airliners.de article that provided a deeper look into the upcoming Premium Economy seat that will be introduced into Lufthansa’s fleet beginning next year.
The original article is written in German but I’ve taken the liberty to provide a loose (and hopefully accurate) translation covering the highlights of the article (thanks Rosetta Stone!).
At the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show taking place this week , Lufthansa took the opportunity to provide an update on their progress with developing a Premium Economy Seat aboard all of her long-haul aircraft (A330, A340, A380, B744 & B747-8i). In an interview with Airliners.de , Jens Bischof, Lufthansa’s VP of Sales and Revenue Management shared the airline’s vision for the new seat.
According to Herr Bischoff, the seat will be a unique design and WILL NOT simply be the same economy seat that is in place now but simply with more leg room. In fact it will be a completely new “product”. The seat is currently under development and is expected to be introduced at the 2014 ITB Berlin Travel Show and installation will begin later in 2014. The long haul cabins will be refitted to make room for the new Premium Economy seat, and appears that it will come at the expense of a few Business Class seats being removed from each aircraft to make room for the new product. The new seat will increase seating capacity by over 10% on each aircraft that Premium Economy is installed on.
In the mean time, Lufthansa is also working on developing the “soft product” around the new seating class. This can potentially include different menus and additional services on the ground. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is curious to see what Lufthansa comes up with.
If you recall, Lufthansa used the ITB Berlin show last year when it officially introduced it’s new Business Class Seat that is starting to be installed across the long-haul fleet.
In an additional Interview with ATW during ITB Berlin, Herr Bischoff suggested that Lufthansa is currently re-evaluating its strategy of using 70 seat aircraft in it’s regional fleets. This evaluation may lead to the removal of the ATR-72 from the Air Dolomiti fleet and the CRJ700 from it’s CityLine fleet. He suggested that replacing these aircraft with larger aircraft will bring a better cost and operating structure to the airline. A final decision on this is expected later this year.