Airbus will offer higher-density A321neo, but says no major interior changes planned

January 20, 2013


A321neo high density 300x214 Airbus will offer higher density A321neo, but says no major interior changes plannedTOULOUSE: Airbus will offer a 236-seat version of the A321neo (new engine option), the European airframer announced at its year-end review press conference, but an executive told the APEX editor’s blog that no makeover of the general interior design would be forthcoming any time soon.

Airbus is focussed on ensuring commonality with the current A321ceo (current engine option) fleet, says Tom Williams, executive VP of programmes. Different LED lighting – covering a spectrum of colours – will be installed in the neo, but Williams says this too will be offered on the ceo, so commonality is retained in the new, larger interior of the A321neo.

The A321’s current maximum capacity is 220 seats. The higher capacity offered on the A321neo will reduce seat mile costs by 5%; the aircraft will be available from mid-2017. Airbus is offering options to activate Door #2 and add overwing exits to boost the capacity.

Airbus’ Space-Flex PRM (persons with reduced mobility) option, which reconfigures the aft lavatories and galley to allow more seats, is a key component to the new floor plan. The airframer says the increased capacity will have “the same comfort standard” as the smaller seating configuration.

“These new cabin options capitalize on recent innovations in cabin monuments and seat design which allow airlines more efficient use of cabin space without compromising cabin comfort,” says Airbus.

John Leahy, COO-customers, tells the APEX editor’s blog that the floor plan uses slimline seats and 28-inch seat pitch already offered on the A321.

Airbus consulted with regulators prior to announcing the change to determine what was required to add the 12 seats.

The range of the A321neo will be reduced by 500 miles with the added payload, but US trans-continental range will be retained. Phoenix-Maui will also be within reach, officials said, a move clearly aimed at requirements for US Airways for its replacement of the ageing Boeing 757.

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About Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton has been in commercial aviation since 1979. From 1979-1985, he was in management positions with the original Midway Airlines, the original American International Airways and Muse Air Corp. From 1985-1989 he was Associated Editor of Airfinance Journal, the industry’s first publication focusing on aircraft finance. In 1989, Hamilton and two other AFJ officials formed Linkraven Ltd., the parent company of Commercial Aviation Report, Commercial Aviation Value Report and Commercial Aviation Events. Linkraven was sold in 1999, at which time Hamilton formed Leeham Co. Hamilton is managing director of Leeham Co.

View all posts by Scott Hamilton

3 Responses to “Airbus will offer higher-density A321neo, but says no major interior changes planned”

  1. Frequent Traveller Says:

    TwinAisleFeeders’ forward cabin design for H21QR does away with exit doors 2L/2R. The result is a “seamless, undivided forward cabin allowing additional seats”, boosting H21QR capacity to 189 pax @ 28″ super-slimline, or 9 more pax with SpaceFlex lavatories in the tailcone plus some rows @ 27″ – to an astounding 198 pax [1+3+1], coming up directly shoulder-to-shoulder compared with A321 [3+3] @ 32″ pitch, also 198 pax. But as we shorten the pitch, we render back more freedom of space in the transversal dimension, removing most lateral promiscuity from the “Travel Experience” picture with an EMF (Excuse-Me Factor) brought down to 1/2 (one half) in H21QR vs 6 in A321. The superiority of the TwinAisle design became obvious to the extent that Airbus were compelled to react, now remorselessly proposing to avail themselves of the TwinAisleFeeders solution, packing the A321 cabin, however without giving back anything in compensation laterally to the unfortunate passengers …
    There is no mention anywhere in Airbus’ release concerning the Turn-Around performance of this new A321 version. We propose 65′ slot time ? Or no more than five flights before curfew. To do less requires the “Wide Aisle Option” or 737 type triples in the A321 cabin, featuring 59″ width armrest-to-armrest or cushions of 3 x 17″, a guaranteed come-back for the unfamed “757 syndrome”.


  2. Frequent Traveller Says:

    The A320 [Type B - double Type III - Type B] Emergency Exits (EE) solution gives a theoretical EE-limited pax count of max 215 pax, but Airbus came out short of the (very challenging !) Emergency Evacuation demo for this type (was it in 1987 ?) and got JAA/FAA blessing for only 180 pax. So as NOT to repeat this mischief with A321, Airbus designed the stretched sister type with 4 EE DOORS, passing the EE demo with a regulatory ‘OK’ for 220 pax (in 1992 ?), with doors 2L/2R and 3L/3R located just before/just aft of the wingbox. However, this overkill EE design factually disoptimises the seat count flexibility in the fwd cabin for A321 : when compressing pitch, no extra rows are gained. To address this major cabin design default is what Airbus is after here, misappropriating TwinAiseFeeders’ corrective design without even a ‘thank you’ ! Besides, good luck to Airbus with their EE demo in 2017 ! Or Airbus intends to swap Type B doors 1L/1R and 4L/4R today for Type A in 2017 ?


  3. Frequent Traveller Says:

    The foregoing comments hereabove c/o APEX have been reformatted into a dedicated protest Pamphlet published today @ the TwinAisleFeeders website; it is also available through Actualités Aéronautiques, see here :, or through Flyprat, see here :


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