Airbus estimates that a new wider-seat design in its A320 family, designed for physically larger passengers, could generate $3 million in additional revenue over a 15-year period. The airframer has developed an interior configuration which features asymmetric seating each side of the aisle. Each group of three seats includes one of a 20in (51cm) width adjacent to the aisle, alongside two regular seats - in the centre and window ­positions - of 17in width.

Airbus head of interiors ­marketing Zuzana Hrnkova says that society is recognising the rise in obesity rates in the population, and addressing it accordingly - pointing out that there are metro rail stations with similar varied-width seats.

"Providing adequate seat width, for those that need it most, improves the travel experience for those sitting close by," she adds. The airframer believes that a single-class A320 layout with 57 wider seats - 20% of which are sold at a modest premium - will bring in ancillary revenues of some $3 million over 15 years.

Airbus claims that increasing the aisle seat width by 3in will not intrude on the comfort of other passengers. Typical A320 layouts comprise 17in seats with a 25in aisle, or 18in seats with a 19in aisle.

Source: Flight International