EXCLUSIVE | Airbus is cooking up something special for airlines buying its next-gen A350 jetliner – a first class cabin with a single aisle instead of the standard two aisles.
The design could potentially allow a small first class section to be nestled into the nose of the mid-sized A350-900 as well as the larger A350-1000.
An Airbus spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that "the new first-class cabin concept... replaces the two aisles in the original first-class cabin with one single aisle which allows access to potentially four first-class suites."
"By reducing to one aisle it enables the first-class cabin to offer more space to passengers (or makes extra floor space for additional cabin equipment)."
We'll grant that the mock-up doesn't look especially spacious – there appears to be no more room than in some recent business class concepts such as Zodiac's Fusio suite...
... and the B/E Aerospace Breakout, which turns a business class seat in to a sky-high corner office.
That said, the Airbus mock-up is just that – a piece of early concept art meant to help airlines reconsider conventions and rethink how their premium cabins might be designed.
Of course, this isn't the first single-aisle treatment for the pointy end – Etihad pioneered the single-aisle layout with its chic first class Apartments on the Airbus A380.
Airbus has inked close to 800 orders for the A350 family from some 35 airlines.
Next on the schedule are Singapore Airlines, which expects to see its first A350 in January 2016, with Cathay Pacific's first A350 in February 2016 also being used to launch new business class and premium economy seats.
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT