“Knitting is the future.” Not the type of remark you hear every day in the aviation industry, but seat manufacturer Lift by EnCore VP-development & strategy Elijah Dobrusin is serious.

Knitting, it seems, has advantages over traditional woven methods in certain aspects of cabin fabrics manufacture. Notably, it does not produce seams that can start to chafe passengers. This makes it ideal for the facing of headrests, for example.

Lift has long-term ambitions to use knitting for complete seat covers: “We think it’s a much more efficient process,” Dobrusin said.

 At present, however, its products include a new design of economy-class seat for the Boeing 787, which it showed at last week’s AIX exhibition in Hamburg.

This has a tighter weave at the edges of the seat, to give improved wear resistance, and a looser weave in the middle of the seatback, to help dissipate heat and moisture.

It also has a new type of design for the seatback IFE screen, which is mounted in the back of the headrest without the usual plastic shroud that normally presents a solid, flat surface to the passenger. Rather, the screen sits clear of a scalloped, softly lit cavity. “We find that the light and this cavity behind it gives a greater sense of personal space to the passenger,” director of design Tom Eaton explained.

The seatback tray, when folded down, reveals a holder for a mobile phone, which is increasingly used to stream content by passengers, and the coathook is redesigned to accommodate a set of passengers’ headphones.

“We’re not fundamentally changing the seat, but it’s these little subtleties that actually have an impact,” Dobrusin said.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com