Japan Airlines (JAL) today unveiled its brand new JAL Suite, available in JAL First Class and created for its newly-manufactured Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The individual private suites were designed by London-based James Park Associates (JPA) and manufactured by Contour. They will be introduced on the Tokyo to New York route in August 2008 and the Tokyo to San Francisco route in September 2008. Introduction of the seats to the Tokyo to Chicago and Tokyo to Los Angeles routes will follow next year.

JAL Suites combine seat, storage area, dining table and ottoman, and mark a significant departure from their predecessors. Offering passengers improved comfort and privacy within their own personal environment, each seat converts into a forward-facing, 35-inch wide, 78.5-inch long, lie-flat bed, and the headrest folds to provide an entirely flat sleeping surface.

Visually, the seat combines JPA’s trademark combination of the familiar with the cutting edge. Upholstered in especially-developed pale grey leather, the seat’s shape is reminiscent of a traditional armchair – its 5-inch wide, thickly-padded armrests reinforcing this impression. The seat’s color-coordinated surround continues to encompass the console to the side of the seat and a facing ottoman, above which is a 19-inch TV screen. The console features storage spaces for bags and small items, a large side shelf, literature pockets and a laptop power point, while the ottoman can be used as a seat, should the passenger choose to dine with a partner.

James Park, founder of JPA, said, “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to design this suite for Japan Airlines. The JAL Suite has a clean, elegant and uncluttered appearance, but its simple forms belie huge technical complexity. Much of the last year has been spent rigorously testing, refining every detail and, as a colleague put it, ‘perfecting perfection.’ We are extremely pleased with the result, and I am sure passengers will be impressed.”

Fitted in a one-two-one configuration, giving each passenger direct aisle access, the seat has been designed using the principles of Universal Design to ensure the accessibility to passengers of all levels of mobility. The application of this approach is illustrated by way in which key seat controls can be identified visually and by touch and by the soft, rounded and easily gripped edging to the shroud, which can provide support as passengers access their seats or move down the aisle.

Mr. Mitsuaki Matsuura, vice president for Japan Airlines Product & Planning, said, “The launch of our new First Class cabin is a major step for Japan Airlines, and the seat designed for us by James Park Associates reflects our total commitment to providing the very best in comfort and hospitality for our passengers. The seat expresses subtlety and elegance, is practical and easy to use, and offers both space and privacy. It is everything JAL First Class customers would expect of us, and more, confirming our position as the airline of choice for the international passenger.”

James Park concluded, “Japan Airlines has been a superb client to work with. They have taken a keen interest in every stage of the design process and their responsiveness has helped us overcome the challenges of progressing from first concept stage to delivery within a very short period of time. Getting the JAL Suite so right, so quickly would not have been possible without the involvement of the manufacturers, Contour, and I think it is significant that British design and manufacturing has delivered the exceptional level of quality that Japan Airlines demands.”