Bombardier CS100 wide-seat planes for Delta and Swiss Air: New plane for overweight passengers

A new aircraft made with wider seats to accommodate more portly passengers will be showcased in a demonstration flight later this week at the annual Farborough International Airshow in Hampshire.

The CS100, the latest revelation from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace's C-Series, has been built with 19-inch middle seats, said to be wider than those of rival aircraft such as the Boeing 737 (17.3 inches) and Airbus A319 (18 inches), as well as 18.5-inch window and aisle seats.

The aircraft, which has a 100-150 passenger capacity range, is also said to offer wider aisles, larger luggage bins, and the "largest windows in the single-aisle [aircraft] market" - all aimed to create a "wide body feel" and offer passengers an "unparalleled level of comfort", the company said in a statement.

Made with the "latest, most efficient technology", the CS100 claims to be the quietest aircraft in its class and have the lowest fuel consumption, as well as reduce pilot work load thanks to a "smart cockpit design".

The plane was developed following a request from a number of commercial airlines that wanted an offering more comfortable for today's fliers, according to Ross Mitchell, Bombardier's vice-president of commercial operations.

"We went to airlines and asked them what the appropriate sizes were. They said 18-19 inches because it gives people more room in the seat. Airlines were looking to have an option with more comfort," Mr Mitchell told The Guardian.

Mr Mitchell believes nearly 7000 aircraft from the C Series will be ordered by airlines over the next 20 years, the first of which was delivered to Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) in June. The 125-seat aircraft will make its maiden commercial flight on July 15 from Zurich to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. It is also set to fly to Manchester, Prague and Budapest in the future, with other destinations to be added, including Warsaw, Brussels, and Nice, the company said.

Described as "the world's newest, innovative and most technologically advanced aircraft", the CS100 performed "exceptionally well during its acceptance flight, as expected," Thomas Klühr, chief executive officer for SWISS, said in a statement in June.

The Swiss airline has also ordered a CS300, another model in the C Series, the first delivery of which is scheduled to a different airline, Latvia's AirBaltic, later this year.

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The US carrier Delta Air Lines also placed an order for 75 CS100 aircraft this April, with an option to purchase 50 more in a deal worth $US5.6 billion ($A7.4bn).

The CS100 follows several other aircraft designs proposed in recent years to cater to larger fliers. Earlier this year, Airbus filed a patent for bench seating in planes that can be adjusted to fit the space needs of the passengers, whether for families with small children, customers with mobility issues or men or women who require more width than others. The "re-configurable passenger bench seat" could put an end to the debates and disputes revolving around the varying circumference of fliers.

In November of 2013, the London-based company Seymourpowell introduced 'The Morph', a form of adjustable seating which changes depending on the size of the person occupying it, or the amount of room they desire.

According to a promotional video for the concept, two sheets of fabric – one for the seat back, and one for the seat base – are stretched across the width of an entire row, and over a movable frame. The fabric is held in place by armrests and upper dividers to form three individual "hammock seats". The fabric can be tailored to fit the person sitting in it, while the dividers slide from side to side, allowing the airline to make some seats wider.

In the same year, Airbus unveiled its plan to offer extra-wide aisle seats measuring 20 inches, rather than the standard 18 inches, on some of its aircraft to cater to bigger passengers. The wider seats, which would reduce the size of the window and middle seats, would however cost more than the other seats.

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