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In the airline equivalent of having your cake and eating it too, Lufthansa has found a way to add more seats to its aircraft yet also give passengers more legroom.
That's typically an either/or proposition – cramming more seats in means cramping your passengers. But Lufthansa says that newly-designed seats with slimmer backrests and mounting will recover enough space to add extra rows to each plane while boosting legroom by up to 5 centimetres.
The refit is aimed at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet of 200 single-aisle aircraft – including the Airbus A320, Boeing 737 plus several Canadair and Embraer models – which can currently carry about 33,000 people.
Lufthansa estimates the increased carrying capacity will add almost 2,000 extra seats across the business and economy cabins.
The seats will also sport a more ergonomic design and be part of a revamp of Lufthansa's short-haul services be unveiled on December 15th.
European analysts see Lufthansa's move as an attempt to retain leadership against lower-cost carriers, and in some ways this is similar to Qantas' recent push to reinvigorate its domestic service – with Next-Generation Check-in, a refit for lounges plus enhanced lounge and inflight meals – as Virgin Blue makes ready for it own assault on the Australian business and corporate market.