Fletcher, NC — “Our seats are in the upright and eco-friendly position,” reads a sign adjacent to the new gate hold area at Asheville Regional Airport. Last week, Asheville Regional Airport replaced its aging passenger seating with new chairs that are the first of their kind in American airports.
“Our passenger seating was in need of replacement, and in our bid process, we looked at a new product that had several positive attributes,” said Lew Bleiweis, airport director. The seating, manufactured by Zoeftig and sold under the brand “inFINITE Seating System,” is made with metal replacement technology, which uses much less energy than steel manufacturing. The environmentally-friendly manufacturing process was appealing to the airport, which is working to implement a more “green” environment over time. “In addition, the product is 100% recyclable, so when the time comes to replace this seating, we won’t be adding unnecessarily to landfills,” added Bleiweis.
But these chairs won’t need to be replaced any time soon. Another positive attribute of this new seating product is its longer life-span compared to other options. The seats are made of a material called “PU,” or urethane plastic, and are colored all the way through, which means the seats will not dull, scratch or fade, allowing for easier maintenance. Also, they won’t wear like traditional upholstery.
Additionally, unlike traditional airport chairs that are permanently connected to one another in various configurations which makes rearranging seating patterns difficult, the new seating system is completely modular. Seats can easily be reconfigured as new needs arise, which saves money and increases efficiency.
“We try to plan for the future in all decisions, and our choice of passenger seating is no different. Replacing 400 chairs is costly, and we feel very good about the decision to ‘go green,’ as well as to choose seating that will last,” said Bleiweis. “We’re the first airport in the United States to choose this product, and we feel we’re setting a good example in the industry.”
Jason Plaisted, Delta passenger visiting Western North Carolina from upstate New York, couldn’t agree more. “I noticed the chairs when I arrived at the airport – they’re different,” he said. And then he learned that the seating is an environmentally-responsible choice, and he was impressed. “I drive a Prius, and am a huge fan of anything ‘green.’ I didn’t know airports had such a thing as ‘green’ chairs, and I’m glad to see them. Whatever you can do to help save the environment is phenomenal.”
The new airport seating is one of the last installments associated with the renovation of the terminal, which opened to passengers in October 2010.
Celebrating its 50th year as an economic anchor organization in the region, Asheville Regional Airport is dedicated to advocating for needed routes and competitive fares for the air travelers in Western North Carolina. To compare fares, book a trip or to learn more, visit www.flyavl.com.