January 18, 2013
Airbus is offering the A321NEO in a 236-seat configuration, adding 16 seats to the current 220-passenger maximum capacity.
The manufacturer plans to make the new version available from 2017, but will offer the configuration only for the A321NEO and not the current engine option.
Aviation Week first reported Airbus was studying such a version of the A321NEO in December (Aviation Daily, Dec. 11, 2012).
Because of the additional range available on the NEO versions and now the additional capacity, Airbus expects to increasingly market the aircraft as a Boeing 757 replacement.
While the A321NEO does not have the same range as the 757, it still can be used in most markets the Boeing narrowbody serves.
The increased-capacity version is enabled by the optional addition of an overwing exit, which is not a feature of the current A321. Airbus also rearranged cabin monuments (seating and fixtures).
Together with the aircraft’s slim seats, the modified layout leads to a more efficient use of the space. The aircraft is not stretched. Airbus claims the additional seats will lead to a 5% reduction in unit costs.