Klaus Roewe, SVP of the A320neo Family:
There are 2,700 A320neos in the backlog. Roewe provided a program update during the Airbus Innovation Days. Here is a paraphrased synopsis.
- The first flight remains on target for 3Q2014. Final assembly began in the spring.
- No further modification will be required to meet the target of 15% fuel burn improvement.
- The GTF has been delivered to Toulouse; the LEAP-1A is in testing at the CFM factory.
- Production rate is shown at 46/mo from mid-2016 through 2019. We are investigating rate 50 and above.
- Within the supply chain, the first NEO components are 70% better than target. More than 2,000 lessons learned from the A380 and A350 are incorporated into the NEO program. We are already testing control laws for the neo, a lesson learned from previous programs.
- Airbus has discussed with regulators to determine that evacuation of the A320 for up to 200 passengers is possible but a configuration of 189 passengers is more feasible.
- Maximum capacity A321neo (240 pax) reduces per-seat fuel cost by 6%.
- Slim line seats at 28 inches feels like 30 inch seat pitch.
- A321neo could carry 25 more passengers on a 2,500nm route departing Phoenix or Las Vegas, two hot airports that were challenging for the A321ceo (based on the CFM56 engine).
- We are “well below” weight targets.
- Meeting 95% commonality target.
- There has been an increase of airlines configuring the A321 with more than 200 seats from 5% to 40%, which drove the larger-capacity design of the A321neo.
- Flap extension will go up from 27 degrees to 34 degrees, and some changes to spoilers will be incorporated into the neo.
Slime line seats really do improve comfort, but that’s true on any plane, not just Airbus.
Which target does “Within the supply chain, the first NEO components are 70% better than target.” refer to please Scott?
Re the slimline seat, when I’ve experienced back to back original vs retrofit slimline same day, slimline was more comfortable and made cabin feel much, much airier, but I wonder about comfort durability of that thinner padding.
In general harder upholstery holds up better than softer deeper seating
and it tends to give less stress to the occupant. ( see Euro car seats
that have grown harder/stiffer over the last decades. )
Certainly the denser foams used in contemporary Euro cars, trains ‘lump’ less than the foams of years ago, but much of the change in Euro cars is down to pushing the ‘sporty’ angle that requires more passeneger ‘control’. The heaviest use I’ve put thin padding to is in task chairs and, for my money, although they don’t lump they do become uncomfortable much sooner than thicker, less dense foam does.
any airline/manufacturer executive who actually thinks 30″ pitch provides anything approaching a satisfactory comfort level, even on a short flight, is smoking crack. anything under 32 means you can’t comfortably have the tray down and using even a small laptop is completely out of the question.
in addition, the closer the seats, the harder it is to get in and out of your row of seats, at some point, this must affect safety in evacuation situations.
of course the airlines will inflict as much punishment on passengers as the market will bear, but it is time for the market to stop bearing. perhaps it is time for a little bit of re-regulation by the FAA specifying minimum acceptable passenger space (distance between front of seatback and back of seat in front of you.) a good starting would be the space needed for an average american adult male to sit, with the tray down and a 15″ laptop in use with enough room to type comfortably and orient the screen so you can actually see it.
240 Seats is 40 rows. Remove 3-4 rows, introduce slimline seats and we have a ~220 seater will good legroom and enough lavatories.
Exactly, keesje, as is remarked here :
The changes made effective in fwd cabin for this latest Airbus A321 High Density 240 pax @ 28″ LOPA are those very same preconized by TwinAisleFeeders in February 2011, very precisely to remove EE doors Type B 2L/2R and replace by plain fuselage frames instead, aiming to streamline the fwd cabine for high density : the relevance of the A321 fwd cabin today is affected negatively by an “OVERKILL” of Emergency Evacuation Exits (theoretical Exit Limit today = 4 x 75 = 300 pax, vs certified limit = 220 pax), dissecting the cabin into a suite of three shorter sections interfering with the intent of LCC to increase the pax-count when shortening seat pitch …
The question which arises is : WHY do Airbus strategists feel compelled to display the A321 cabin outfitted with 240 pax ? With which alternative cabin offer are they pitching the A321 against – certainly not the 739, this parallel you may discard as irrelevant ! … Nor the 752 or 753, why wake up a ‘sleeping dog’ ? Or reformulated : what makes Airbus A321 cabin interior designers/strategists run, of late ?
Keep cranking up those numbers, more breathing room for the CS500 150 seater.