A collaboration between SWS Aircraft Certification, Flying Disabled, and PriestmanGoode has developed Air 4 All – a seating system for aeroplanes that will enable users of powered wheelchairs to stay in their wheelchairs throughout a flight – with the prototype expected in December 2021.
Intended for use on commercial flights, the wheelchair is fixed in place using an attachment system and installation system fitted to the airline seats (similar to the ISOFIX seating system used in cars) and has been designed to accommodate models of any certified for flying powered wheelchair which has also been fitted with the correct attachment mechanism.
Though closely resembling – and still functioning – as a standard airline seat, the seats lift up to accommodate a wheelchair when required giving powered wheelchair users equal access to comfortable and safe air travel whilst enabling airline companies to retain seat count.
Paul Priestman of PriestmanGoode said,
“The biggest barrier in the past has been that giving greater space to passengers in wheelchairs would have reduced seat count and resulted in a loss of revenue for airlines.
Air 4 All solves this problem and has the added benefit of enabling airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat, ensuring brand consistency and a cohesive brand experience for all passengers.
Air 4 All will facilitate a smoother boarding and disembarking experience for passengers with reduced mobility and will also significantly reduce the number of wheelchairs that are damaged through poor handling.”
At this stage, the Air 4 All system has been designed for aircraft with a 2+2 configuration of two rows of two seats, creating the capacity for up to two wheelchairs per row.
It is intended that in the future, the system will be opened up to all wheelchair manufacturers and all airline manufacturers.
“In the same way that child seats for cars can be made by many different manufacturers and used on any type of car, our aim for Air 4 All is that it’s universal,” said Priestman.
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