Boeing first flew it largest Dreamliner variant, the 787-10 this week while Airbus gave its smallest member of the A320NEO single aisle jet, the A319NEO, its maiden flight.
At home Virgin Australia rolled out an extra legroom section of its economy class cabins, called Economy X seats, and in Hong Kong Cathay Pacific confirmed it would squeeze passengers into smaller seats in some of its jets to improve its premium quality offering. Go figure.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest regional carrier, warned that if the UK stuffed up its Brexit negotiations over air routes, it could find itself without any flights to EU countries for a period of months.
Who would have thought at the turn of the century that low cost giant Ryanair would offer slightly roomier seats in terms of legroom its single aisle jets than some British Airways and Lufthansa aircraft?
The new Boeing wide body variant and the Airbus single aisle new engine technology version of the A319 show the determination of the two major airliner makers to get the most out of fully current families of airliners for the mass market.
However in a world of upsizing of capacity, the A319 is more about the rounding off of a highly successful line of jets than the 787-10, which bets on a range-payload trade off where more seats can be added to the current largest Dreamliner in service, the -9, in return for a reduced range capability.
At least so far. The big jet rivals have always found room for both more range and more capacity as their designs mature.
Expect to see Singapore Airlines’ 787-10s on its Australia and medium range routes onwards to other Asia destinations in the near future. Don’t expect to see any A319 NEOs for some time in this country. The market seems to be betting much more heavily on the larger A320 NEO and A321 NEO versions.