Airbus turns aircraft cargo bays into spacious sleeping berths

A mock-up of Airbus Zodiac sleeper module

Instead, passengers who have booked a sleeping berth will begin and end their journey in a regular seat and then make their way to the bunk beds during the flight.

Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace have partnered to develop and market lower-deck modules with passenger sleeping berths.

The partners haven't released too many details, but Airbus says that the modules will fit inside existing cargo compartments, can be swapped out easily, and will not interfere with normal cargo operations.

In addition to a sleep module, Airbus and Zodiac revealed plans for a children's play module complete with a playground slide, a hospital infirmary module, a bar/lounge module, and a conference-room module.

For Airbus, the cargo sleeper set-up will be created to be installed as modules that can be quickly replaced with regular cargo fittings, Bloomburg reported.

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Airlines would initially be able to choose from options certified by regulators for A330s.

The manufacturer claims that the modules won't affect the aircraft's cargo floor or cargo loading system because the compartments will sit directly on it. Airbus is also looking at the possibility of fitting the system in its A350 XWB airliner.

"This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort", said Geoff Pinner, head of Airbus' cabin and cargo programme.

Airbus announced that it has entered into a partnership with Zodiac Aerospace to equip planes with sleeping facilities.

"We are delighted to work with Airbus on this new and innovative project, which reaffirms our expertise in lower-deck solutions". "An improved passenger experience is today a key element of differentiation for airlines".

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