The A319 Gago Coutinho, registration CS-TTB, was the first airplane TAP to enter the service with the interiors fully renovated in November 2016, under the program of upgrading of the fleet. This program is being developed by TAP in conjunction with national companies, along with Almadesign.
Rui Marcelino, Almadesign, created the company 20 years ago and today manages the team responsible for the design of aircraft interiors in renewal and by the news that, even during this year, will be possible to know.
Tell us about Almadesign. When was it born and in which projects have you worked on?
The beginning of Almadesign came about because of the challenge posed by the Salvador Caetano in 1996, to draw a body of tourist bus to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the company.
With the increase in demand of that work, the need to expand the team arose and was born Almadesign. The partnership with Salvador Caetano to develop new buses remained until today, but since then, Almadesign has diversified its activity in hundreds of projects in the areas of product design, interior design or communication design. The design of transport: road, rail and aviation, it remains a core activity of the company.
How was the partnership with TAP born?
The first contacts with TAP can be traced back to 2011, the year in which Almadesign and its partners - among which the Embraer of Brazil - presented the project life in Paris, who won the prestigious international award Crystal Cabin Award in 2012. The partnership more effective with the company comes in 2014, with the new department of TAP dedicated to the interiors of cabines.
In addition to the retrofit of the A319, which other projects is Almadesign developing or will develop in the future with TAP?
Our collaboration began with the project350, whose work of customization has migrated to the A330neo through all the definition of colors, materials and finishes (CMF - Color Material and finishings). In addition to the 319/320, we work on the retrofit of the A330, including a class room completely innovative. We are also working on products inflight (such as accessories, menus, among others).
How do you rate the overall partnership with TAP?
It has been a partnership extremely gratifying for us and, I believe, a fundamental learning for both companies. We build together a relationship of trust which has made it possible to develop the necessary skills for projects to retrofit, improving the experience of travel, increasing the value of the brand and increasing the return with the existing fleet. The interaction with the team of TAP has been exceptional, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with suppliers and integrators to the best level of the world.
TAP has worked with Portuguese companies in this project - Almadesign, Karmann Ghia of Portugal and Couro Azul. What does this choice represent?
Since the beginning of our contact with TAP that the company showed interest in incorporating national companies in projects to retrofit. This desire is also the DNA of Almadesign, by which we all efforts to integrate Portuguese companies of great quality in this initiative. Even more important, the incorporation of national companies has contributed to increase the national experience in this sector, increasing the recognition and the possibility of access to the supply chains of international Portuguese companies.
Finally, in total, how do you rate the final product?
In relation to the A319 and A320, we believe that the renewal introduced TAP to places on a new level of quality, competitiveness and efficiency. The interior layout incorporates a fully renovated image, reinforcing the identity TAP in an environment more welcoming, more modern and more sophisticated, with materials and finishes of high quality, as well as chairs of latest generation, comfortable, lighter and thinner, that allow you to keep the high standards of quality and competitiveness of the company with the main airlines. TAP is the first airline to launch a layout of single aisle with reclining seats and pre-set down. This gives the possibility of each passenger to find a product that suits your preference.
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