Airbus is considering adding a small lower deck to the forthcoming A350-1000 jet to accommodate lavatories and kitchens.
Shifting these ‘service areas’ off the main deck would free up significant amounts of space for more seats in both business class and economy class, Airbus says.
“The average passenger doesn’t want to sit next to a lav and doesn’t want to sit next to a galley” explains Kiran Rao, Airbus Executive Vice-President for Strategy and Marketing.
“As we move these service areas out of the passenger cabin we create space for more seats without compromising on comfort.”
“So we are looking to utilise the under-floor area of the A350-1000 for galleys and lavs,” Rao told Australian Business Traveller at the launch of the aircraft manufacturer’s Airspace cabin concept in London.
The space beneath the passenger deck is typically used for cargo but “on long aircraft you can’t fill it all with cargo” Rao said, adding that this could mean larger galleys which would “give the cabin crew a nicer area to work in.”
It’s understood that some larger lavatories would remain on the main deck for reasons including accessibility by disabled travellers.
Airbus is already experimenting with relocated loos on the new A330neo, in which economy lavatories shift from the main cabin into a single service area alongside the galley kitchens, such as at the rear of the A330neo.
The A350-1000 is a larger and longer-range version of the A350-900, which most recently added Singapore Airlines to its growing list of customers.
Qatar Airways is the launch customer for the A350-1000, which is expected to take wing in the middle of 2017.
The A350-1000 will typically carry 366 passengers compared to 325 in the A350-900, although the actual passenger count depends on each airline’s seat design and overall layout.
However, freeing up space occupied by galleys and lavatories could boost the seat count closer to the 400 mark – a measure with substantial appeal to airlines.
Australian Business Traveller