From Covid-19 Issue: Getting innovative with The SeatBox as cargo travels passenger cabins

Various innovators are now at work looking at ways to optimise cargo capacity while also ensuring the safety and security of goods inside the passenger cabins. Meet one such innovator – Vincent Pic-Paris of Dubai-based MV Aviation who has designed innovative seat boxes that can fly Economy, Premium, Business and even First Class!

Loading cargo into the belly of an aircraft is relatively easy. But given the current situation where flights are going empty for lack of passengers on board, filling the passenger cabins with cargo would present a significant boost in capacity. Although this is a much more complex process than just stuffing cargo in the belly, it is one option that several airlines across the globe are now considering subject to regulatory approvals.

When crisis hits the industry, creativity is the key to survival. When airlines and other stakeholders are looking at new solutions that could help them deal with the current capacity crunch, here is an innovator - Vincent Pic-Paris of Dubai-based MV Aviation - who has designed innovative seat boxes named ‘The SeatBox’ that can fly Economy, Premium, Business and even First Class! Easy to erect (Vincent claims it takes less than one minute) and easy to store, the SeatBox is also reusable.

So what prompted Vincent to come up with this novel idea? “A few weeks back, I did realize that airlines will have to face their biggest crisis because of this virus. I was pretty sure that passenger aircraft would be grounded, but cargo aircraft will continue in order to keep the world linked and delivered,” he said.

Vincent further added, “The issue was: Worldwide cargo fleet is not big enough to cover worldwide needs, especially urgent needs. Then, as we were already marketing ‘The SeatBox’ in different sizes for aviation, I realised that we could offer an opportunity to airlines to use their passenger aircraft for carrying goods in the belly of course. But since belly only is not financially viable, the use of space available in the passenger cabin was considered. As we can produce ‘The SeatBox’ in many dimensions, it made a lot of sense. Of course, adding Certified C172 straps was a must.”

While MV Aviation is under advanced negotiations with airlines in Europe and Middle East both on technical aspects and on regulatory compliance for its novel product, it has already received orders from FlyDubai for boxes restraining systems on the B737 passenger seats.

What also makes ‘The SeatBox’ by MV Aviation special is that it is manufactured with 100 percent recycled cardboard and is 100 percent recyclable. Using recycled cardboard is a progressive step for the industry, replacing plastics, thus helping to protect the environment. The sides, bottom and top of the seat boxes are made of Honeycomb cardboard while the corners are of high density cardboard. The bottom and top panels are assembled with corners with a special machine which makes them sturdy.

The SeatBox by MV Aviation can be custom-designed in terms of dimensions, which means it can placed in any class  - be it Economy, Premium, Business or even First Class. The SeatBox can carry all kind of products including products that need thermal. “The idea is to bring the product by using a Catering Truck, loading the product by using trolleys, put them in the SeatBox, closing it, and securing the SeatBox with straps,” Vincent explained.

Apart from the SeatBox, MV Aviation is now developing a new solution called DecontLine in partnership with CargoWise for sanitisation and decontamination line for a train of loaded pallet dollies, which will be marketed very soon.

This feature was originally published in April 2020 Covid-19 Special Issue of The STAT Trade Times.