'Living room' cabin plan for new Lufthansa jumbo jet

Lufthansa will offer flat-bed seats in a brown and grey-themed business-class cabin designed to feel less clinical than the current version when it takes delivery of Boeing new jumbo jet in coming months.

The 747-8 planes will be fitted with seats requiring 8 per cent more space, according to Lufthansa's latest employee newsletter, with the "warmer" colors giving more of a "living- room feel" than the existing blue and silver-dominated scheme.

Lufthansa has lagged behind competitors such as British Airways in offering flat-bed seating considered a major lure for corporate travellers. The Cologne-based company will also retrofit the rest of its long-haul fleet within three or four years, starting in a year's time, according to the newsletter.

"Our competitors have already implemented concepts with fully flat seats that previously only existed in first class," Christian Koerfgen, vice president for product management and innovation, said in the circular. "We have improved a great many details, such as the armrest, tabletop and storage bins."

Lufthansa, Europe's biggest airline after Air France-KLM Group, will start taking delivery of the passenger version of Boeing's updated 747, known as the Intercontinental, "early this year," spokesman Thomas Jachnow said today by telephone.

Private jets

On retrofitted aircraft, Lufthansa may reduce the number of economy passengers in order to accommodate the same number of berths in business class, given the size of new seats, which will be supplied by Wellington, Florida-based BE Aerospace, said Jan Baerwalde, another spokesman for the airline.

Full details of the business-class upgrade will be provided in March, Baerwalde said. The German carrier already has flat beds in its first-class cabins.

Lufthansa will separately offer a private jet service for onward flights in the US starting February 1 via an agreement with Warren Buffett's NetJets, it said in a statement.

Travel can be booked through Lufthansa in combination with trans-Atlantic flights to 21 North American destinations, or for direct point-to-point trips within the continent, the release said. Lufthansa Private Jet already operates a similar service in Europe in conjunction with NetJets Europe.

Juergen Weber, chairman of Lufthansa's supervisory board, said in the newsletter that cost cuts will be central to the carrier's ability to finance 160 aircraft with a list price of 17 billion euros ($A21 billion) over the next seven years.