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09-17-2010 / 11:17 AM

There is it again – the stand-up-seat for the ultra high density cabin. This time you can see it at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, a design from the Italian company Aviointeriors. The “SkyRider” is Michael O’Leary’s dream and passengers nightmare. Media outlets around the world are picking the story as one of the highlights of this trade show.

These 23” pitch seat would be the perfect tool to turn A320s and 737s into cattle transports. Fortunately it is more than unlikely, they will make it from the drawing board into the real world. The reason is simple; an airliner’s maximum passenger capacity is not defined by the floor space available, but by the number of emergency exits. People need to be able to leave the airplane within 90 seconds. That’s the rule and that has to be demonstrated.

So if you want to go beyond 189 pax in a 737 you would have to cut additional holes in the fuselage. Boeing had to do this exercise when it made the 737-900 with its 189 seats limit the 737-900ER with 215 seats. Even if you find the place where you can put those exits you have to strengthen the airframe. All together you will add some four or five tons of structural weight to the airplane, which will ruin its performance and economics. A high price for beeing able to sell a few 29 Euro tickets more.

I am wondering, whether the seat designers, who are proposing those ideas, don’t know the basic rules of airplane certification. That would be bad. Or they don’t mind looking stupid, because it’s just about publicity. Wouldn’t be much better either.

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