Bombardier is in talks with low-cost-carrier AirAsia over a possible sale for a new ultra-high-density, 160-seat version of its CSeries aircraft.
Discussions centre around the CS300, which will make its debut in 2014, says Benjamin Boehm, vice-president of commercial aircraft at Bombardier. This would use seats with a 28-inch pitch, compared with the 32-inch pitch on the standard 130-seat CS300 and the 30-inch pitch on the 145-seat, high-density variant.
Boehm says that the density would not require any structural changes to the aircraft, but there are a number of "internal configuration issues" that would need to be worked out with the carrier.
Tony Fernandes, founder and group chief executive of AirAsia, confirms that the airline is in talks with Bombardier regarding the CSeries.
A deal with AirAsia would be a big win for the Canadian airframer as it attempts to challenge Airbus and Boeing in the mid-size jetliner market.
AirAsia operates 61 A320s and one Boeing 737-300, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database, with orders for a further 72 A320s and 200 A320neos. The airline has 29.5-inch seat pitch on all of its aircraft, according to website Seatguru.com.