Research & Development

JAXA promotes three research and development programs and a fundamental research program that underpins them.

Universal Design for Advancing All People’s Comfort in Air Travel

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Proposal for an Innovative, Accessible Lavatory to Enhance Comfort in Air Travel for All

JAXA and JAMCO Corporation have collaboratively developed an innovative concept for aircraft lavatories designed to meet the needs of passengers with reduced mobility (PRMs). The proposed concept aims to address the longstanding challenges faced by PRMs, providing solutions for enhanced accessibility and comfort towards social innovation.

Our proposed concept, the“Metamorphic Lavatory,” combines two adjacent lavatory units and a connecting cross aisle, resulting in the creation of an unprecedented, spacious environment. This design empowers PRMs requiring total assistance to use the lavatory with the same ease as an accessible lavatory on the ground.

Furthermore, aircraft lavatories should be “accessible to everyone” as a public facility. Therefore, we have incorporated a variety of passengers’ needs into this concept, resulting in a highly refined, comfortable, and accessible facility for everyone.

The standard mode consists of two lavatory units and a partition between the cross aisle and the seats. The arrangement in the standard mode is the same as that of the cross-aisle space in currently operated widebody aircraft in service. In this concept, one of the lavatory units was designed as a multi-purpose open space. Even when both units are applied as closed toilet spaces, it is still feasible to expand the space. (Image courtesy of JAMCO Corporation)

The full expansion mode enables PRMs to get close to the toilet in their on-board wheelchair, providing space for two caregivers to stand in supportive positions in front and to the side of the toilet. In addition, the flip-up handrails and backrests are installed. The L-shaped handrail on the wall is convenient for PRMs who can transfer independently. A partition wall is in place to contain odor and sound while ensuring user privacy. (Image courtesy of JAMCO Corporation)

A simple bed folded in the partition is beneficial for individuals who require assistance in removing clothing before transferring to the toilet seat. It can also serve as a changing table for adults. (Image courtesy of JAMCO Corporation)

A folding small shelf above the toilet is convenient for placing ostomy appliances while allowing users to view themselves in the mirror. (Image courtesy of JAMCO Corporation)

The individual expansion mode renders it spacious enough for an adult with a child, serving as a versatile area for nursing activities and a tranquil space for children with developmental disabilities to calm and cool down. As usual a changing table for small children is also installed in the lavatory unit. (Image courtesy of JAMCO Corporation)


In general, accessible lavatories installed on wide-body aircraft are too narrow for caregivers to enter the lavatory and assist PRMs. Consequently, PRMs requiring total assistance face the impossibility of using the lavatory during flights. This unsolved situation poses a significant concern in terms of human rights and should be addressed immediately, particularly on long-haul flights.

A straightforward expansion of lavatory space would typically entail a reduction in the number of seats, implying a loss of airline revenue. We have discussed this issue and developed a concept that enables the temporary expansion of the lavatory, creating space for caregiver assistance without necessitating a reduction in seat capacity.

In addition to that, other passengers’ needs clarified from JAXA’s previous surveys are also implemented as the features in the lavatory, resulting in a highly refined concept. Finally, this concept led to the realization of accessible and comfortable lavatories, benefitting not only PRMs but also a variety of passengers.

Jan 30, 2024