Airbus and Boeing are fighting over the width of economy class seats on long-haul flights.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) - Mon, Nov 4, 2013

A row has flared up between Boeing and Airbus over the width of economy class seats on long-haul flights, setting the tone for a bitter confrontation at this month's Dubai Airshow. The dispute focuses on the width of seats for economy passengers - not always the ones most courted by airlines, but whose allocated space holds the key to efficiency claims for the latest jets offered by Airbus and Boeing. Airbus this week called for an industry standard that would provide for a seat at least 18 inches wide in economy cabins, but Boeing says it should be for airlines to decide. The dispute comes as they vie to sell ever-larger versions of their twin-engined long-haul aircraft, with potentially record orders expected at the November 17-21 Dubai event. How the back of the plane is laid out - particularly whether seating is 9 or 10 abreast - is central to the economic performance claims being made for new 'mini-jumbo' designs. Boeing says its revamped "777X" will hold 406 people based on economy seats over 17 inches wide and set out 10 in each row. Airbus says the competing version of its A350 will carry 350 people in 18-inch-wide economy seat laid out 9 abreast. Plane giants often trade blows on technical matters through advertising in the trade press. Now, Airbus is appealing directly to the public ahead of the Dubai Airshow, where the 777X is expected to dominate with over 100 orders. It recently previewed what may be the start of a new ad war by showing financiers a slide illustrating three people squashed together at a restaurant, titled "Would You Accept This?" "Boeing is proposing long-distance flying in seats narrower than regional turbo-props," said Airbus sales chief John Leahy. As diets change, people are getting bigger but aircraft seating has not changed radically. Between the early 1970s, when the Boeing 747 jumbo defined modern long-haul...

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