Spanish airline Vueling wants a 186-seat A320, which would be tight squeeze

Spanish airline Vueling is interested  in a 186-seat A320. Photo: Wikipedia.

Spanish airline Vueling is interested in a 186-seat A320. Photo: Wikipedia.

Airbus is attempting to certify a 186-seat A320 according to a report last week by Jens Flottau in Aviation Week.

To put this in perspective, as I tweeted recently, Jetblue puts 150 seats on its A320s, which have an all coach configuration, though some seats do have extra legroom. As it now stands, according to Aviation Week, Airbus operators can place no more than 180 seats on the jet.

Keep in mind, the plane isn’t getting any bigger. So if this happens, it’ll be a tight squeeze for passengers on ultra low cost carriers that prefer dense configurations.

Flottau writes that the Spanish airline Vueling is interested in  the 186-seat plane. Vueling is owned by IAG, which is also the parent of British Airways and Iberia. Flottau writes:

According to industry sources, one key element for Airbus to be able to win the Vueling order was the promise to be able to fit 186 seats in the cabin. Airbus has done some significant interior redesign work and has more in the works. Many airlines have either already installed or are in the process of installing slim backrest seats that allow the airlines to reduce pitch and gain space for several more seat rows . Also, as part of the Spaceflex concept, airlines can opt to move the rear lavatories to immediately in front of the rear pressure bulkhead if they accept a smaller galley at the same time. That way, another row of seats can be added.

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Which airplane seat looks most comfortable to you?

Airbus

Airbus brought a mock-up of an A320 interior to an Anaheim, Calif. trade show last week. Photo by staff photographer Stephen Carr.

I mentioned in a post last week that Airbus’s A320 airplanes are 7 inches wider than the comparable Boeing 737. That means Airbus customers can install seats that are 1-inch wider than on Boeing 737s. Not all airlines actually put in wider seats, for reasons I detailed last week, but at least they have the option.

Airbus is darn proud of this fact. So proud that they brought a mock-up of an A320 to a trade show last week in Anaheim. The seats above may look the same, but Airbus is actually trying to show why its setup is better. On the right, in orange, are 18-inch wide Airbus seats. On the left, in brown, are 17-inch Boeing seats.

Which one looks more comfortable to you?

Also, note the flooring. Apparently that’s an option for carriers, though I have never actually seen it in the air. In Airbus lingo it’s call “non-textile floor.” Have you ever seen it?

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American Airlines receives its first A319

American received its first Airbus A319 aircraft on Tuesday in Germany.

American received its first Airbus A319 aircraft on Tuesday in Germany.

It probably takes a special type of aviation geek to appreciate the above photograph.

But that’s the first American Airlines Airbus A319, which was delivered on Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany. You’ll see in this picture it’s still wearing its European registration, D-AVYQ.

American has not had an Airbus plane in its fleet since it retired its widebody A300s in 2009. Now, the airline has about 260 Airbus planes on order, with a mixture of A319s, A320s and A321s.

We won’t see the A319s in Los Angeles at first. But starting in 2014, American plans to put the new A321s on the Los Angeles to New York JFK route.

Those will be specially configured planes with three classes of service – first, business and economy. Early renderings (such as the one depicted in the first half of the video below) suggest it will be an impressive product.

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