Wide-body squeezy bus in downtown rush hour

First flight of the Airbus A330-300 on 2 November 1992 from Toulouse, France (Image © Airbus)
First flight of the Airbus A330-300 on 2 November 1992 from Toulouse, France (Image © Airbus)

Let’s say you have a great aircraft that sells fairly good, but it has this size that it is not of much interest to one of the fastest global passenger transport markets of the moment: the budget airlines. What do you do? Right, you just turn a proper wide-body spacious airplane into a can with wings for the masses.

That seems to be the plan with a fresh press release we got about the new Airbus A330-330. Wait a minute, you might say, that plane already exists! Join the AIRheads’ editors, since we thought the same thing and double-checked there are currently already 1,250 of the type cruising the skies with seating for about 300 air travelers.

But now Airbus promotes a new kind of A330-330. The new plane has the same look and feel on the outside, but the interior will be as confined as the metro bus that takes you from your favourite city park right into the buzz lanes of the downtown rush hour.

“The right aircraft, right now” says Airbus about its newest invention, but a crowded bus has never felt quite right … ever. “The new A330-300 with unit costs similar to Airbus’ single-aisle A321”, says Airbus again. That at least sounds interesting for all the ryanairs and jetblues out there. “It has an increased capacity of 356-400 seats – combined with a lower operational weight, optimised thrust engines, a latest-technology cockpit and tailored passenger cabin.”

Tailored sounds great, but the first economic seating area which feels to fit like a glove I still have to meet. But as CEO of the budget airline you got my attention. “In matching the A330-300 to shorter-range operations, its cabin will incorporate modern lightweight slim-line economy seats (weighing just over half that of typical long-haul seats), galleys optimised for food service on domestic/regional routes (with the capacity for one meal, plus a snack for travel times of two/three hours), and the elimination of crew rest areas utilised on long-distance flights.”

Ah, thank goodness that the lesser comfort goes for all, passengers and crew alike. As the CEO of the budget airline I am already on the phone with Airbus right now. Because if I can transport more for the same price, don’t give my personnel to much glamour and do it all for lower costs per seat I want these bigger cans with wings. Never mind the sardines inside, they will swim in by the masses anyway, fishing for the lowest possible fares in the worldwide pool of airplane tickets.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger