Will Seat Width Impact Boeing and Airbus’s Future Success?
Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus, the world’s two largest planemakers and fierce rivals, are currently embroiled in a dispute over the width of tourist-class seats on long-distance flights. While the argument may seem silly, seating layout can have crucial effects on performance , and both airplane manufacturers are set for a tense standoff at this month’s Dubai Airshow.
According to Reuters, the dispute focuses on the width of seats on long-haul flights for economy passengers — an area in which allocated space can have strong effects on efficiency claims. Earlier this week, Airbus called for an industry standard of 18 inches (46 cm) wide for economy cabin seats, but Boeing rejected the idea, stating that airlines should be the ones to decide on width.
The dispute has become increasingly heated as the market for twin-engine, long-distance, aircraft expands, with potential record-breaking orders expected at the Dubai Airshow held from November 17 to 21.
The layout of the rear seating in “mini-jumbo” jet designs can make a huge difference in economic performance, with the difference between nine or ten seats abreast being the most important factor. While Boeing’s revamped 777X will hold 406 people with economy seats of 17 inches wide and ten in each row, Airbus has stated that the competing A350 will carry 350 passengers with 18 inch wide economy seats at nine in each row.