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Even as airlines try to increase revenue by squeezing more passengers in, one leading aircraft maker is calling for a minimum 18-inch (46-centimetre) seat standard on long-haul flights.

Citing a study conducted in Britain, Airbus said Monday an 18-inch seat improved passenger sleep quality by more than 50 per cent, compared to the more common 17-inch (43-centimetre) seat.

In calling for more cabin comfort in the economy class, Airbusthe European manufacturer noted the rapid growth in long-haul flights.

It said in the past five years alone, the number of daily flights over 13-plus-hour flying time had increased from 24 to 41.

Airbus has also predicted that in the next 15 years passenger traffic will double and by 2032, the world’s airlines will take delivery of more than 29,000 new aircraft.

But lately, the focus of many airlines worldwide has been on making more money.

That worries Kevin Keniston, head of passenger comfort at Airbus.

“If the aviation industry doesn’t take a stand right now then we risk jeopardizing passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond –- especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service,” he said.

“Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards.”

But Airbus has its own vested interest in promoting a wider-seat campaign —  it  says it has always maintained a standard of 18 inch minimum in its long-haul economy cabins.

“However, other manufacturers are eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths from the 1950s in order to remain competitive,” the company claimed Monday.

So, the stage is set for a PR war over cabin comfort.

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