We are inspired to innovate

Our Expertise

The ongoing exploration of new concepts, materials and technologies by our pioneering team of designers and engineers ensures that we are always at the forefront of product development.

Examples of our pioneering R&D include the introduction of 3-point restraints, relaxed TTL positions and suite doors for business class and, with the VantageSOLO, a ground-up design for all direct-aisle access full-flat seats for single-aisle.

Our latest innovation, VantageDUO,  was launched to the industry as a concept in 2022 and is revolutionary in bringing efficient and superior levels of comfort to the long-range single-aisle market through its clever design and engineering.

  • Optimising cabin real estate
  • Human-centric design
  • Bespoke product development
  • Customisation through collaboration
  • Supporting the whole product life cycle
Ingenuity

First to Market

Thompson is constantly looking to evolve and improve the options available for aircraft seating, pushing expectations and providing previously unthinkable solutions and advancements. We are persistently first to market with new products.

2005

First Vantage concept

The first design concept of the fully horizontal flat-bed Vantage seat by James Thompson with manufacture under licence to Delta Air Lines and SWISS.

2010

First customer

BMI became the first customer for the ground-breaking Vantage seat.

2011

Production facility

Thompson’s first production facility was secured in Northern Ireland.

2012

Brussels Airlines

The first aircraft to be fitted with Vantage seats.

2013

JetBlue

The Vantage seating configuration meant the JetBlue A321 was the first to be fitted with suite doors.

2015

Thompson VantageXL

Entry into service of the Thompson VantageXL.

2016

Acquisition

Seeing its huge potential, AVIC completed the purchase of Thompson Aero Seating.

2017

Delta One

Entry into service for the VantageXL suite with Delta

2017

First Class for Free

First integrated first- and business-class cabin

2017

Crystal Cabin Award

Delivery of the Delta One A350 Thompson VantageXL Suite, the first all-suite business-class cabin and a Crystal Cabin Award winner.

2018

VantageSOLO

The first seat for single-aisle aircraft with direct-aisle access and a fully horizontal flat bed.

2019

Delta

The first A330 with all cabin suite-door installation, thanks to the VantageXL seat.

2020

VantageSOLO for JetBlue

JetBlue takes delivery of the first VantageSOLO, a ground-breaking full-flat, all direct-aisle access business-class seat specifically for single-aisle aircraft.

2021

VantageDUO

Fully relaxed without being fully flat, the VantageDUO is a ground-breaking new seat that offers maximum comfort to the long-range, single-aisle market, with no compromise on density.

2023

Dynamic Test Facility

A major investment in a world-class facility that will catapult Thompson Aero Seating into a new era of development, innovation and sustainability.

Dynamic test Facility

A world-class Dynamic Test Facility opening Autumn 2023

Building works have already begun at the brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down, and are planned to complete in Summer 2023, with the test equipment to then be installed to support commencement of testing from Autumn 2023.

World-class testing capability on the doorstep

The Dynamic Test Facility will provide Thompson with the capability to certify new products for airworthiness and to carry out pioneering research and development work, without ever leaving the factory.

Innovation and Agility

In-house dynamic testing capability means greater opportunities for innovation. Designs can be optimised to feed innovation, reduce weight, and improve sustainability. Immediate access to the facility will also cut lead times.

Sustainability

Research, development and innovation allow for weight reduction and a reduced carbon footprint of the seats in flight. On-site testing results in a dramatic reduction in shipping and travel to overseas facilities.

Closer to home

Currently, there is no Dynamic Test Facility on the island of Ireland, with the nearest appropriate options being in Europe and North America.

Funding and Support

AVIC Cabin Systems, Invest Northern Ireland, Ladders, Local council

Supported by local MPs, Councillors, Sharing in Growth, and business leaders

Latest Progress

Building works have already begun at the brownfield site in Banbridge, County Down, and are planned to complete in Spring 2023, with the test equipment to be installed in the Summer and testing due to begin from Autumn 2023.