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Creature comforts: Airbus to give U.S. carriers wider seats

May 29, 2012, Paris, Fra. - Airbus is offering a new version of its A320 aircraft to U.S. airlines, featuring extra-wide seats for obese passengers.


May 29, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

The company is equipping two 20 inch seats on either side of the A320 aircraft's single aisle, instead of the earlier design comprising three 18 inch seats either side.

According to the company, the addition of a further two inches to a third of its A320 seats will provide U.S. air carriers an opportunity to target the nation's obese population, which has swollen to a third of adults in the country, according to a US National Health and NutritionExamination survey.

Airbus aircraft interiors director Zuzana Hrnkova said that the seats are not meant just for overweight passengers.

"Mothers with children may be ready to pay a little more in order to be able to keep their babies in their lap, and large football players may be interested."
"Mothers with children may be ready to pay a little more in order to be able to keep their babies in their lap, and large football players may be interested," Hrnkova added.

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The French aircraft maker's move also follows its plans to benefit from the fact that its medium-range aircraft is wider-bodied than the 737 aircraft developed by its U.S. rival Boeing.

The company said that its wider seat offering is further expected to generate $3 million in additional gains over a 15-year period.

The A320 aircraft, with a seating capacity of 150 passengers in a two-class cabin or nearly 180 in a high-density layout for low-cost and charter flights, is also equipped with Sharklets, large wingtip devices which will enhance its eco-efficiency and payload-range performance.

The sharklets are also expected to deliver 3.5 per cent less fuel burn over longer sectors, further offering an annual reduction in CO2 emissions to nearly 700 tonnes for each aircraft.