UK group on-board with Chinese

A British consultancy has designed an interiors concept for Shanghai-based aerospace consortium AVIC1, which is seeking to develop a regional airliner for both domestic and export markets.

Weybridge-based Cut the Mustard Design saw its $800 000 (about £504 000) cabin ‘mock-up’ previewed at Airshow China 2002 in Zhuhai last week.

The 70to 100-seater AJ21 aircraft – a class below the smallest Boeing and Airbus models, the 737 and the A319 – will fly for two to three hours at a time, says CTM design director Robin Dunlop, and is likely to be used for transit from major hubs to regional centres.

Given the innate conservatism of the Chinese, the design remit was ‘limited’, Dunlop adds, and its ‘lifecycle’ envisaged to be 15 years rather than the two or three typical with Western airlines.

‘The basic configuration of seats, luggage, galley and toilets was standard, [however] the design approach was to be stylish, but timeless,’ he explains.

Ergonomics and bespoke lighting combine to ‘increase the perception of space’, Dunlop adds. Low-level blue lighting in the toilet is intended to ‘calm’, while the door opens via a gas-powered spring instead of a bifold design.

CTM is working with aeronautical engineer AIM Aviation, which introduced the consultancy to the project five months ago.

Design work must be completed by the end of 2004, ahead of flight testing, with a target date for inaugural passenger flights of 2006.

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