It seems aircraft companies have decided that one way to boost sales of commercial airliners is by squeezing more and more seats into their already massive planes.
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is considering just such an option to improve the disappointing sales numbers of its double-decked A380, already the largest passenger aircraft. Now, the company tells The Financial Times that Airbus does, in fact, plan to increase capacity in the cabin of the A380 from 575 passengers to 600 in an attempt to drive up interest from airlines. “Clearly we will have to win more orders,” Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier told FT.
The company has only sold around 320 of the A380 (at more than $400 million a pop) since it became available in 2001 after Airbus spent more than $10 billion over a decade to develop the aircraft, according to FT. Airbus did, however, deliver 10 of the planes to Qatar Airways last week and the company is hopeful that the airline will buy more in the future.
This isn’t even the first time this year that Airbus has looked to increase seating capacity on some of its planes. The manufacturer announced in July that it was adding nine seats to its A320ceo model, to increase the total to 189, while also adding 20 seats to its A321neo model to accommodate up to 240 passengers.
Airbus’ move to add more seats to its largest aircraft comes after rival U.S. manufacturer Boeing (BA) landed a major $11 billion order from Irish low-cost airline Ryanair for 100 Boeing 737s, which were also recently redesigned to make room for as many as 200 seats – 11 more than were previously offered, allowing Ryanair to maximize its profit on every flight. That deal came with an option for Ryanair to purchase another 100 planes in the future.