Since the publication of the first edition of ‘Jetliner Cabins’, in 2003 — the year of the centenary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight — there have been exciting developments in aircraft manufacturing, as demonstrated dramatically in June 2005 at the Paris Air Show. At the same time, many of the traditional ‘legacy’ airlines have faced a desperate struggle for survival amid soaring oil prices (their second-highest operating cost), ferocious fare wars launched by the low-cost carriers, the Iraq conflict and terrorist attacks.
For the paperback edition, we decided to keep the book in its original form, including the celebratory ‘Letter to the Wright Brothers’, but to update the introduction to Chapter 14/Concorde Unique and add an extra section to Chapter 16/Ways Ahead focusing on next-generation jetliner cabins: the Airbus A380-800, the Boeing B787 Dreamliner, the Bombardier CSeries, and the Embraer E-Jets, Very Light Jets and Light Jets.
‘The Shape, Size and Style of Things to Come’ (positioned near the end of the book) is a series of picture essays made possible thanks to the inspiring material provided courtesy of the design departments of the four companies that dominate the commercial-aircraft manufacturing sector. Special acknowledgements go to (the companies are listed in alphabetical order): Mr Robert Lange at Airbus, Ms Mary Kane at Boeing, Ms Sylvie Gauthier at Bombardier and Ms Marjorie Pujol at Embraer, for their expert technical advice during the assembly of the computer-graphic cabin simulations.
In the coming decades, if airline passengers decide they are ready to buy tickets at prices even slightly above the ‘rock-bottom fare of the day’, then the industry should be able to offer a menu of improvements in cabin comfort in all classes of service. The high-efficiency aircraft of the future will provide airline managements with opportunities to develop new passenger-service products to appeal across the full range of market segments, e.g., wider entryways and aisles, more carry-on-baggage stowage space, increased legroom, larger windows, bigger lavatories, atmospheric mood lighting, better air quality, private suites, shower cubicles, fitness centres, computer work stations, lounge bars, beauty salons, children’s nurseries, libraries, more point-to-point flying (instead of connecting over hub airports), executive shuttles, private air taxis – the list is endless! However, if passengers continue to demand air fares that cost less than the combined taxi fares at both ends of the route, then airlines will never be in a financial position to implement product enhancements.
I am most grateful to Ms Mariangela Palazzi-Williams and Mr Mario Bettella for their continued help and guidance in the handling of my book, and I hope that readers will enjoy the aerial journey offered by the 100-plus airlines that grace the text and pictures of this contemporary survey of the commercial-aircraft cabin environment.
Jennifer Coutts Clay