Aircraft lavatory

Aircraft lavatory

An aircraft lavatory is an on-board bathroom with a toilet and sink.

Minimum standards

Lavatories per passenger provided aboard aircraft vary considerably from airline to airline and aircraft to aircraft. On board North American aircraft, including low-cost, charter, and scheduled service airline carriers, the normally accepted minimum ratio of lavatories to passengers is approximately 1 lavatory for every 50 passengers. However, in premium cabin and business cabins, passengers may have access to multiple lavatories reserved primarily for their use. These ratios of lavatories to passengers vary considerably, depending upon which airline is being used with some first class passengers having 1 lavatory for every 12 passengers. Additionally, many of the larger long-haul airlines elect to equip their aircraft with larger lavatories for this particular group of passengers willing to pay higher fares.

Smaller commuter aircraft and regional aircraft designed for very short flights may not be equipped with lavatories. Recently, many regional airlines in North America have commenced the trend of eliminating the refilling of hand washing basin potable water tanks in order to reduce weight and reduce labor service costs, thus generating increased airline profits derived through added fuel savings due to reduction of aircraft weight and employee labor expensesFact|date=December 2007. To facilitate sanitation, disinfectant hand-wipes are provided.

Types of aircraft lavatories

Lavatories on modern aircraft are very expensive but include features that have required substantial upfront and long term investments by the world's airlines to design and develop. As safety considerations are paramount with everything to do with aviation, airlines and aircraft manufacturers are increasingly attempting to find ways of maintaining these safety goals and similarly to reduce costs of production, increase functionality, and improve design technology.

For this reason many modern lavatories are now no longer of the "chemical toilet blue water recirculated electric flush" variety. Instead lavatory manufacturers have progressed to "vacuum flush" technology to eliminate solid and liquid residue from the basin. Some of the advantages of "vacuum flush technology" systems, from aircraft designers perspective, is the increased safety attributes through less risk of corrosive waste "spill over" into recesses around the lavatories which can be difficult to protect. Additionally, "vacuum flush systems" are considered to be less odor-inducing and substantially lighter which bare substantial fuel savings by way of reducing the need to carry excessive "blue recirculating water" as in the past.

Other characteristics of the modern aircraft lavatories' safety features include smoke detectors, waste receptacle portable fire containment halon extinguishing bottles and "oxygen-smothering" "flapper lids" fitted to the hand towel waste disposal recepticles. Over time these protective devices have been incorporated into aircraft lavatory designs due to fires that have started when the careless cigarette smoker of the past or the clandestine cigarette smoker of the present has incorrectly disposed of their smoking material.

Trends in lavatories upon commercial aircraft

Over time, aircraft lavatories have become substantially smaller and increasingly modular, with airlines having the ability to easily move them to different locations within the cabin as seating configurations change. North American airlines, with the help of government prodding, are becoming increasingly more willing to make at least a portion of and aircraft's lavatories more accessible to handicapped, oversized, and wheelchair bound individuals. Due to the new airline security procedures in force since the terrorist attacks of 9-11, it has become increasing apparent new location and design considerations need to be addressed and researched in future aircraft projects such as the Boeing Y1 or other Airbus aircraft types. Airbus and some airlines such as Lufthansa have pioneered the use of lower lobe cargo deck lavatories on some of its Airbus A340 longer range airliners.


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