Airbus plans to offer airlines more choice in the way they configure their planes, and sees carriers opting for different levels of comfort and seating within the economy cabin of their planes, a senior Airbus executive said on Wednesday.
The planemaker also plans to redefine its wide-body jets, based on a standard layout of three classes – business, premium economy, and economy, Chris Emerson, head of marketing at Airbus, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Airbus now offers 8 abreast seating as standard on its widebody A330 planes, for example, but said it was now also offering 9 abreast. The 9-abreast option is of particular interest to Asian airlines serving price-sensitive customers, Emerson said.
“Ninety percent of global air traffic is in the economy segment,” he said.
Emerson said that airlines would increasingly look at offering differing levels of comfort within the economy cabin, ranging from budget, with the maximum number of seats abreast, to comfort economy, equivalent to the current standard layout, and then to premium economy.
Currently, just 10 percent of Airbus widebody planes are in the so-called “max abreast” configuration, Emerson said.