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Like all great journeys, the one that led to the Boeing Sky Interior in Next-Generation 737 airplanes began with a single step.
"We asked a simple question, 'What could we do to improve the passenger experience?'" recalled Brent Walton, interiors manager for the Boeing Sky Interior.
"From that, it really led to a design goal of creating a more open look and feel in the cabin," said Walton, who along with dozens of engineers, spent the next three years designing and testing new elements throughout the 737 cabin: stow bins, sidewalls, passenger service units, etc.
Four months after delivery of the first Boeing Sky Interior to flydubai in October 2010, the numbers show Walton and his colleagues answered the 'simple' question just right.
"Everyone's impressed with how modern it looks and we're really appreciative of Boeing making a great airplane even better." Ron Baur, Continental Airlines Vice President of Fleet Management
Orders for the Boeing Sky Interior have soared from 1,200 to 1,700 in just four months. At that rate, almost all future Next-Generation 737's will have the Boeing Sky Interior, making it the standard for single-aisle jets.
"Everyone's impressed with how modern it looks and we're really appreciative of Boeing making a great airplane even better," said Ron Baur, Continental Airlines vice president of fleet management. "We have one aircraft in service and all of our future deliveries will have it and we're very looking forward to getting more."
The newly combined United and Continental Airlines recently joined the exclusive club of carriers that have or will launch the new interior in their regions:
"When you sit down right now in this new interior with the different mood lighting, it looks bigger. It just seems like a more exciting place to be." Kenneth Gile, flydubai Chief Operating Officer
"I think it is very good for Air China...increase the revenue and to provide a better service for the passenger," said Liu Taishang, Air China vice president, Tianjin Branch.
Boeing projects passenger preference for the 737 Boeing Sky Interior will lead to incremental revenue per flight of nearly $85,000 per airplane per year
Kenneth Gile, flydubai's chief operating officer, said, "When you sit down right now in this new interior with the different mood lighting, it looks bigger. It just seems like a more exciting place to be."
"We take a lot of pride in delivering this new interior," said Walton, who explained that each new element in the cabin required thousands of hours for design and testing. "It validates all the hard work we put into it."
Walton says while this part of the journey is complete, he and his colleagues have not reached their final destination.
"As engineers ...we're always looking to see what we can do to make it better," Walton said. "That same question should be raised: What can we do to improve the passenger experience...to build toward the next generation of airplanes."