Airbus is to offer airlines the option of an extra-wide 20in (51cm) seat on its A320 family aircraft which it believes will allow carriers to generate additional ancillary revenue.

At present the airframer configures its narrowbody with three 18in-wide seats in each row of the economy-class cabin. However, under the new concept, two seats would be reduced to a width of 17in, with the third growing to 20in.

Feedback from airlines has shown a preference for the aisle berth to be the wider of the three, says Stefanie Von Linstow, Airbus aircraft interiors marketing manager.

"Passengers in the window seat are already happy and those in the centre seat might not be willing to pay as much for the extra width," she says. "The aisle seat seems the most attractive for the concept."

The decision to offer the wider berth has partly been driven by what Von Linstow describes as a "growing population", noting "it is a difficult topic to handle for the airlines".

However, she points out that other categories of passenger, such as mothers with young children or cost-conscious business travellers, would also be prepared to pay a premium for the additional space.

"It could be a revenue-boosting solution that keeps a lot of passengers happy," she says.

Discussions are ongoing with potential customers ahead of any possible launch order of the B/E Aerospace manufactured seat, adds Von Linstow.

Airbus also displayed a full-scale mock-up of its Space-Flex rear cabin concept at AIX. This moves the rear lavatories and galley creating enough space for six additional seats in an A320.

Launch customer LATAM will take delivery of its initial Space-Flex equipped A320, the first of 100 it has on order, later this year.

The re-configured aircraft also marks the first time a toilet for disabled passengers has been available on a narrowbody, says Von Linstow.

Source: Flight Daily News