Airbus eyes new seat choices as economy traffic booms
By Tim Hepher and Victoria Bryan
PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) plans to offer airlines more choice in the way they configure their planes, and sees carriers opting for different levels of comfort within their economy cabins, a senior Airbus executive said on Wednesday.
It also plans to redefine the capacity of its wide-body jets to add premium economy to the traditional economy and business classes to recognize market trends, Chris Emerson, head of marketing at Airbus, said in a telephone interview.
Airbus now offers 8-abreast seating as the standard coach-class layout on its widebody A330, for example, but can offer 9 seats per row where airlines want to offer a leaner product in exchange for lower fares.
Nine-abreast is of particular interest to Asian airlines serving price-sensitive customers, Emerson said.
There is also interest in a 10-abreast A350 rather than the normal 9-abreast layout for that jet, he said.
"Ninety percent of global air traffic is in the economy segment," he said.
Airlines have long had the option to configure their cabins as they wish, but choices have been relatively slim.
Emerson said that airlines would increasingly look at offering differing comfort levels within the economy cabin. Continued...