Thursday, 14 July 2016

Plane catering for expanding waistlines

Swiss International Air Lines’ Bombardier CS100 at Zurich.
Swiss International Air Lines’ Bombardier CS100. Photograph: Bombardier

A plane with seats wide enough to accommodate the larger girth of modern flyers is set to be one of the stars of this year’s Farnborough airshow.
Bombardier’s C-Series CS100 will make a demonstration flight at the annual aviation festival, which takes place this week.
The aircraft, which has wings designed and developed in Belfast with help from a £180m investment from the UK government, features larger seats than most commercial passenger jets. The window and aisle seats are 18.5in (47cm) wide, while the middle seat is 19in wide, an upgrade on older competitor aircraft such as the Airbus A319 (18 in) or the Boeing 737 (17.3in).
The larger seats will help airlines who buy the aircraft deal with an increase in the average size of passengers over the past few decades.
The C-Series also features bigger windows, an extra-wide aisle and larger hand luggage bins.
Ross Mitchell, Bombardier’s vice-president of commercial operations said airlines had requested a plane with wider seats to offer more comfort for today’s flyers.
“We went to airlines and asked them what the appropriate sizes were. They said 18-19 inches because it gives people more room in the seat. Airlines were looking to have an option with more comfort,” said Mitchell.
He added that Bombardier believes airlines will order around 7000 aircraft in the C-Series size category over 20 years.
“We’re going to do quite well,” he said.
Aviation expert John Strickland of JLS Consulting said that while the C-Series offers wider seats, not all airlines would choose to take up that option.
If they believe that offering better comfort will help them to attract customers who are willing to pay for the privilege of more comfort they‘ll do that.”
“If they think they’ll have price pressure and have to pack in more seats, they’ll make that judgment.”
Bombardier, based in Canada, delivered the first of the new 125-seat aircraft to Swiss International Air Lines last week and a C-Series decked out in the airline’s livery is due to fly at Farnborough next Sunday.
The first CS100 aircraft is scheduled to enter service with Swiss on the 15th July, making its maiden commercial flight from Zurich to Paris-Charles de Gaulle

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