Antwerp-based airline VLM has begun upgrading the interiors on its 15 strong fleet of Fokker 50 aircraft. The carrier, which plies business-orientated routes such as London City (LCY) to Amsterdam, Brussels and Manchester, has already put one refurbished plane into service, with three more to follow by the end of this summer, and the rest by the end of 2007.
Interestingly, the airline has decided to fit a new style of ergonomic seat designed by Swiss company Fast. Instead of the normal reclining back, the seat consists of one single shell, with passengers able to tilt the entire seat. The airline believes the result offers customers greater support to the back and legs, and result in a more comfortable seating position.
The airline has also moved away from its traditional blue seating colour, to a more upmarket beige leather offering. Says Johan Vanneste, Managing Director of VLM, "We looked at the interiors of the type of cars our customers are driving, which are typically light leather coloured, and went for a similar interior in our aircraft."
The use of Kevlar and carbon fibre in its manufacture has also allowed the seat body to be slimmed down, enabling the airline to offer a generous 32-33' seat pitch. Other enhancements to the aircraft interiors include coat hooks on the side of each seat, new carpets and refurbished toilets.
Due to the rotating nature of the carrier's fleet, the upgraded aircraft will not be flying on any one particular route, so it's a matter of luck for now as to whether passengers will experience the new seating on their flight.
The Belgian airline offers more flights out of LCY than any other carrier and has a good punctuality record (which it publishes on its website's home page). It recently added another daily weekday flight to Amsterdam from LCY, bringing the total to six daily.
For more information visit flyvlm.com
Report by Mark Caswell