Evaluating airliner performance, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Sep. 28 2015, ©. Leeham Co: In the third part of our series about comparing and evaluating economic and operational performance of airliners, we will take a deeper look at how the cabin configuration can affect the evaluation result.

Airlines around the world show the operational performance and cost in many different formats. One of the more important is cost per transported passenger or per seat, such as operating cost per available seat mile (CASM). Cost per seat mile is also one of the key results of an aircraft evaluation.

To reach this number, the costs per flown aircraft mile is divided by the seat count of the aircraft. This is the reason why all OEMs try to cram as many seats as possible in their reference aircraft. In evaluations, they use any wiggle room in the evaluation specification to get their seat number up.

To make true apples-to-apples aircraft evaluations, it is therefore necessary that one understand where the OEMs cut corners in their cabin layouts if allowed so that one can hand them evaluation criteria that enables unbiased evaluations.


  • We look at the most common methods for the OEMs to increase their seat counts.
  • We learn how to specify the different areas of the cabin to enable fair comparison configurations.
  • Finally, we discuss how much differences in cabin layout can affect a final result in an aircraft evaluation.

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