Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Saudi Arabian Airlines have teamed to modernize the flag carrier's 777 fleet to enhance the passenger experience and environment. The project involves modifying the interiors of 22 of Saudi Arabian Airlines' 23 Boeing 777-200ERs (extended range).
The passenger cabin modification program began in early 2009 after certification of the new Business Market seating configuration. Modifications on this scale are generally scheduled to coincide with required heavy maintenance checks. However, under this modification program, the majority of the fleet already has been modified and returned to service. The modifications are scheduled to be completed in 2011.
"This interior modification affects an important segment of our long-haul fleet and our passengers expect the best from us," said Ali Milaat, CEO of Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries. "With its experience as the airplane manufacturer, Boeing has done a great job in working with us to develop and support this process and we look forward to sharing the great results with our customers."
Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, working with the airline team, developed a cabin layout that provides increased comfort and amenities for passengers while providing the airline with an attractive, new in-flight identity. Boeing also provided the engineering services and program integration.
"Saudi Arabian Airlines plays an important role in Middle East and global aviation and this interior refresh is a great opportunity for Boeing to bring value to an important customer," said Dennis Floyd, vice president, Fleet Services for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing is uniquely positioned with experience and expertise to engineer, certify and manage modification programs for our customers."
Eight of the airplanes feature Saudi Arabian Airlines' new Business Market configuration with 24 first class, 38 business class and 170 economy class seats. The remaining jetliners are in the new High Density configuration that accommodates 14 business class and 327 economy class seats.
The airplanes are configured with new Avio Interiors first, business and economy class seats. Widescreen displays are at each seat, connected to a Thales TopSeries i5000 In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. This system features on-demand movies, music and games and provides for a laptop power connector, USB port and RCA jack.
The first class seats feature 15.4-inch (39.1-cm) in-seat video monitors with PC power and powered seat adjustment, at a 79-inch pitch. Business class seats have 12.1-inch (30.7-cm) in-seat video monitors, also with PC power and powered adjustment capability, at a 58-inch (147.3-cm) pitch. Economy seats are on a 32-inch (81.3-cm) pitch and have 8.9-inch (22.6-cm) video monitors in-seat.
Boeing produced the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-certified service bulletin and kit of parts to accommodate the seat installation and the new in-flight entertainment system. Boeing also relocated and updated floor coverings, ceilings, sidewalls, class divider partition walls, stowage bins, closets and plumbing to enable the airplane modernization. As a full-service integrator, Boeing can perform as much of an airline interior upgrade as required, including management of all aspects of the project through certification.