Have any Airbus A350 XWB customers selected a 10-abreast economy class seating configuration for the new widebody? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask at Airbus.
Last week, while the A350-900 was in New York Newark, the question was posed by Runway Girl Network to A350 marketing director Mike Bausor.
Bausor said airline customers “need to freeze their definition around about … 18 months to 24 months before delivery so as we go forward, I think we’ll see a lot more configurations being frozen”, but no customer has locked down a plan for 10-abreast. “Not yet,” he confirmed. “I think we will see that.”
His revelation contrasts to a recent statement made by Airbus executive VP, strategy and marketing Dr. Kiran Rao, who said that while he was not at liberty to provide the names of customers that have chosen 10-abreast, there are “probably less than a handful of airlines on 10-abreast”.
Rao also revealed that Airbus , by playing with angles on the sidewalls, tweaking the armrests, and employing other clever modifications to achieve a seat width that could be just 16.9” versus the 16.4” seat width originally advertised for the high-density 3-4-3 option.
Asian airlines and Air Caraïbes are most likely to be first adopters.
“Obviously for operators that plan to do longhaul, low-cost – the kind of thing we see emerging very much today in Asia, where we’ve got to remember that people are smaller there as well – there we can actually do 10-abreast configuration: 3-4-3,” said Bausor.