Technical And Commercial Feasibility

Executive Summary

This report is an analysis of an invention cum innovation opportunity in the field of aerospace industry that is highly recommended for Airbus SE, a leading player and partner in that field and any other interested company in similar business. Such innovation and just like many others witnessed before it, could change the way passengers travel if the intellectual property rights involved such as patenting are implemented by not only Airbus SE itself but also other players and partners in the aerospace industry. Guaranteed, that the air travel market is increasingly becoming competitive, and therefore, to meet and respond to passenger desires, market demands and needs, airlines must move swiftly to innovate and offer new and special design amenities that are unique. The main innovation opportunity talked about in this report is;

The idea of having standing seats in commercial airlines especially for short flight hauls. Other innovation opportunities intended to compliment the above includes; The notion of fitting these standing seats with germ-killing disinfectants to avoid complaints regarding sickness among passengers Having smarter faucet and stacked seats for passengers’ comfort

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This report thus asks the question as to whether or not the idea of standing seats is an idea whose very time is with the aerospace industry and responds in the affirmative. It is highly recommended for Airbus SE, and other aerospace companies are advised to consider venturing into it since as this report reveals, its benefits outweigh its disadvantages. This report thus proceeds from the viewpoint that following intense and numerous technological advancements and inventions in aerospace industry, it is never too late for Airbus SE.

What is the innovation opportunity?

Aerospace industry has seen a number of innovations that are aimed at benefiting the companies themselves and responding to passengers desires and needs overtime. This is owing to competition in the industry, which has seen every company try its best as far as innovations are concerned to outsmart the other (Holmén et al., 2007). Airbus SE, for example, has done its best as far as innovations in the highly competitive air travel industry are concerned. However, as highlighted above, this report tends to give more options to Airbus SE (Reuters, 2019). This report thus draws the attention of Airbus SE and invites it to consider the idea of ‘Standing Seats’ (Quintana-García et al., 2008). The idea of standing seats is not new per se to aerospace industry but since no company has had it in place, it remains new and it is highly recommended for commercial companies since it comes with numerous advantages.

The need for standing seats: importance and gaps

This innovation or rather invention if implemented well by Airbus SE and other aerospace companies in the commercial business of flying passengers across the world stands to benefit passengers using its services as well as the company itself (Aydalot & Keeble, 2018). The reason behind this innovation, which also explains the need for standing seats, is that sometimes the flights are very short such that before one settles on their seats when a plane takes off, they find themselves in their destination. It is therefore prudent to have such seats to cover and cater for short distance flights that do not need one to sit normally (Bessant & Tidd, 2007). The idea of standing seats is not wholly new since aviation regulators have shot down such earlier attempts to have them for safety reasons. However, the changing environment and competition in the air travel industry together with feedbacks from passengers using the economy seats reveals that there is need to revolutionize the industry and have standings seats, which are very comfortable and reduces the weight of the plane as well as allowing the passengers to stretch their legs freely. This is one feature not found in commercial planes with economy seats (Cropley, 2016).

The product

This report cum study vouches for the idea of having standing seats for all commercial jets plying different roots within the Airbus SE and other interested companies. The reason why this report vouches for standing seats is that these seats are more comfortable as compared to normal economy seats. In addition, feedbacks from passengers using normal seats point to glaring complaints of discomfort arising from passengers caused by their neighbor frequently kicking their seats inadvertently (Holmén et al., 2007). Granted that Airbus has already filed a patent to have stacked seats in their commercial jets which it has christened “mezzanine seating”, having standing seats to compliment such stacked seats would be a formidable combination. In the stacked arrangement for example, the top seats are intended to take the place of the overhead bins and clearly a sense of comfort can be felt in the wider imagination involving a combination of both standing and stacked seats (Ferro et al., 2016).

The reason behind having standing seats for short distance flights is to answer the question of whether or not one needs to sit down during short flights because even before a passenger settles down on his or her seat for short flights, he or she is again required to get off the plane owing to the fact that you have reached your destination (Abdelhady et al., 2018). From this report, a few facts can be deduced as far as position in innovation space is concerned. Standing seats are the new frontier of low costs and best passenger experience. This is so because the design permits a twenty percent increase in passengers per flight. It also weighs fifty percent less than standard economy class seats since it is half the normal size thus lowering the level of fuel consumption and cost per passenger. Therefore, it seems likely that such a design could lower the cost of travel for passengers (Kiran et al., 2012).

These seats position a passenger in almost an upright position, with a saddle and a foot panel aimed at supporting part of the weight of their body and occupies only twenty three, (23) inches of pitch. Rather, Naser et al. (2015) note that the space or the distance between a point on one seat and a similar point on the seat in front. Furthermore, the standing seats are light in weight and actually should weigh fifty percent less in weight than the standard economy class seats. Standing seats allows passengers to stretch their legs freely as much as they wish when they travel without any additional cost (Anderson, 2013). This arrangement aims to assist airlines to squeeze in more people or passengers on flight by allowing an ultra-high density thus reducing the space or the distance between rows. Standing seats have extra padding, as well as poles to link each row from the ceiling to the floor of the cabin thus boosting cabin experience (Anderson, 2013).

Architecture

The seats are designed for short distance flights and which going by their designs, have the effect of reducing the distance between rows have many benefits that come with such reduction in the spaces between rows (Anderson, 2014). Their design enables an increase in the number of passengers on flight by at least twenty percent thus allowing increase in profits for airline companies involved (Bessant & Tidd, 2007).The standing seats will see passengers strapped in while standing up thus ensuring safety of passengers while on flight while focusing on revolutionizing air travel and a wider passenger behavior. Moreover, the seats have seatbelts for passengers.

A pattern of such standing seats was recently unveiled by an Italian company, Avio, and named the Sky Rider 2.0. Its seats are saddle and allows passengers to lean a bit freely of their weight on the seat while still basically, standing (Bessant & Tidd, 2007). These seats position a passenger in almost an upright position, with a saddle and a foot panel aimed at supporting part of the weight of their body and occupies only twenty-three inches of pitch or rather the space or the distance between a point on one seat and a similar point on the seat in front.

Intellectual property

This innovation is basically a technological invention in the field of aerospace industry which as per the norm involves a new product cum service with industrial application. The invention, just like many others before it, has incorporated the requirement of an inventive step. It is thus safe to conclude that this is a patent and as per the law, this innovation should be patented so as to attract statutory protection (Miller & Miller, 2012).

Is there a market need?

The answer to the question as to whether or not there is market need for standing seats in commercial airplanes is in the affirmative. As discussed above, the benefits of standing seats are numerous and thus anything that stands to benefit both the players and partners in the industry is necessary. The seats, for example, are space friendly. This is because as earlier enumerated, standing seats are for short distance flights and going by their designs, these seats have the effect of reducing the distance between rows (Miller & Miller, 2012). Their design enables an increase in the number of passengers on flight by at least twenty percent thus allowing increase in profits for airline companies involved. The seats are also passenger friendly (Mrazova, 2013). This is because the seats allow passengers to stretch their legs freely as much as they wish.

Current competition

Aerospace industry has seen many innovations involving technology. Airbus SE Company, for example, has taken lead in numerous technological innovations including cabin experience moves aimed at improving their cabin and others involving off-flight advancements like taxi flight app that has made it possible for passengers to book and reserve a helicopter (Bloomberg, 2019). It is therefore safe to conclude that there is currently no competition or innovation rivalling the idea of standing seats.

Market focus

This innovation targets the larger aerospace industry and especially it targets specific companies involved in commercial flights. It is for this reason that Airbus SE is a target audience in this report. These commercial flights are, for the obvious reason, in the business of air travel for profit maximization and as discussed above, standing seats in airplanes comes with numerous benefits to both the companies and their passengers (Mrazova, 2013).

Future Competition

This innovation is likely to face competition in future especially from stacked seat arrangement by the same Airbus SE, which is already up for patenting (Airbus, 2018). In the stacked arrangement for example, the top seats are intended to take the place of the overhead bins.

This innovation has undergone all the stages of innovation. For the record, the new service of having standing seats in airplanes and commercial jets is here. That means product identification is safely in place. The various processes and position plus paradigm are also safely in place. What remains are physical design of the seats and actual implementation by prospective companies intended to test it.

Future Prospect: partners, set up and eco-system

Going for actual design and having the same tested and implemented is the next big step that this innovation intends to complete to make the idea of standing seats in airplanes a physical reality. It is the one and final step to be undertaken and once this proves or rather comes with good tidings, then patenting the idea is the very final in line. This innovation does not need future developments as far the original intention involving design and use is concerned. However, should better ideas come along; this very innovation is open to accommodate them as long as they are purely improvements. After all, a good idea should always pave way for a better idea.

This whole innovation opportunity cannot stand alone hence the need to involve a number of partners (Preuss, 2011). That call for a partnership set up and to some extent agency kind of an arrangement to further and advance the benefits of this innovation a cross the world. The partnership kind of arrangement is opted because this will involve an agreement between parties to the deed to conduct their business with each benefitting and profiting. Lastly, the innovation eco-system might consist of actual materials that in their very nature are operates to complete the innovation process by ensuring that this concept or idea of standing seats in airplanes is made a physical reality (Quintana-García et al., 2008).

This innovation is currently at the second stage in the innovation life cycle involving dominant design.

Limitations and Risks involved

This concept of having standing seats is not new per se. As said before, Avio floated this very idea in the past but aviation regulators shot down such earlier attempts to have them for safety reasons for lack of seatbelts. Save for this reason only, which reason has this innovation remedying by recommending seatbelts on these standing seats, there is no known risk, which might perhaps hinder or prevent this innovation from gracing aerospace industry since its benefits are way above the economy seats presently in use (Zolghadri, 2012).

Aerospace industry has seen many technological innovations. The industry has seen healthy competition as far as innovations are concerned. Airbus SE, for example, has taken bold steps in innovations aimed at revolutionizing air travel industry as well as responding to passengers’ flight needs (Naser et al., 2015). This report affirms the business question of whether or not this innovation is necessary for the aerospace industry. To proceed successfully with this idea, therefore;

Partnership set of an arrangement is necessary. This is important both at this early stage and post innovation stage for purposes of support and profit respectively Design support involving necessary products or raw materials are also important to make this idea a physical reality especially for completing the project. Airbus SE can still consider venturing into this idea of standing seats for reasons that:

Standing seats will allow passengers to travel safely with much comfort, as no passenger will ever kick other passenger’s seat as is common with economy seats. Standing seats are economical in the sense that they do not utilize much space hence more seats can be erected in the same plane to accommodate more passengers. The seats stand to benefit passengers, as they are pocket-friendly. Passengers will need to pay nearly half the price These seats are not for all flights but only recommended for short flight hauls that take less than one hour.

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References

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  • Mrazova, M. (2013). Advanced composite materials of the future in aerospace industry. Incas bulletin, 5(3), 139.
  • Naser, S. A., Zaqout, I., Ghosh, M. A., Atallah, R., & Alajrami, E. (2015). Predicting student performance using artificial neural network: In the faculty of engineering and information technology. International Journal of Hybrid Information Technology, 8(2), 221-228.
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