Airbus believes its proposed 10-abreast high density seating arrangement for the A350 XWB would offer unparalleled operating efficiency for long-haul aircraft.
While the airframer expects the A350’s standard economy layout to be based on a nine-abreast arrangement, a project study is “looking at the option of taking what is the equivalent of an A330 seat when it is configured at nine-abreast to make a 10-abreast A350”, says Airbus’s vice president marketing Colin Stuart.
“This is an opportunity that looks at the very highest levels of operating cost efficiency,” he adds. “In this configuration, the operating cost per seat could not be matched by any other aircraft. We’d have to go to an 11-abreast A380 to achieve similar levels.”
AirAsia X is taking 25 A330-300s configured in a 392-seat layout with economy seating in a nine abreast high-density arrangement which will be flown on one-stop services between Kuala Lumpur, says Stuart.
While Airbus has not disclosed the total number of seats that the various A350 variants could accommodate in a 10-abreast layout, it says that the certificated exit limit for the twinjet will be 440 seats.
Stuart says that the A350’s standard economy layout is nine-abreast, with eight-abreast seen as the premium-economy seat offering. “In an eight-abreast layout the A350 typically has a 19 to 19.5in (48-39.5cm) wide seat cushion, that’s 1.5in to 2in wider than the economy seat of a 747,” he says.
“The majority of airlines are saying that the nine-abreast arrangement will be the standard economy configuration for the A350,” says Stuart. He adds that in this arrangement the seat has a 17.7in width “that’s 0.5 to 1in wider than a 747”.
Aircraft Profile: Airbus A350 XWB
AirSpace Gallery: Airbus A350