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Sleeperettes for AI's first-class passengers

Our Bureau

Display of the new 180-degree flat bed seat for AI's first class passengers.

MUMBAI, Nov. 28

IN a "major thrust for image improvement" Air India will soon offer 180-degrees, flat bed seats in the first class on all its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. These aircraft are deployed on its Mumbai/Delhi-London/Paris-New York, Chicago/Newark routes.

The national carrier has received the first consignment of the seats, called sleeperettes, from EADS Sogerma, a French company. Each unit of two seats costs Rs 25 lakh, according to Mr Jitender Bhargava, Director, Public Relations, AI. He was speaking at a press conference called to launch the new seats.

The first aircraft fitted with the new seats will be ready by the first week of December. The Rs 28-crore refurbishment of the airline's fleet of seven Boeing 747-400s will be completed in phases by March 2003, he said.

"Having come out of the red, we have to plough in some money to improve our facilities," he said.

Apart from three basic, pre-defined positions - the take-off and landing position; the comfort or reading position; and the full flat sleeping position - the backrest and the leg-rest of the sleeperettes can be adjusted to suit each passenger's individual requirement. The adjustments can be made using the push buttons on the seat function control units.

A small table has been integrated with each seat to support DVD players, an additional feature being provided to the first and executive class passengers. Following the refurbishment with the new seats, the first class will have just 12 seats, down from 16 earlier. Similarly, the business class will have 26 seats as compared with 34 earlier, Mr Bhargava said.

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