TOULOUSE: 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.