Canadian company's wide seat plane takes off in the UK for Delta and Swiss Air
Middle seats on Bombardier's new planes offer nearly two inches more room than on similar-sized planes
A new jetliner with wider passenger seats is wowing airplane fans at the Farnborough Airshow in the U.K. this week.
A Bombardier C-Series CS-100, operated by Swiss Air, is taking to the skies for a demonstration flight at the annual aerospace showcase.
According to Bombardier, the window and aisle seats in the plane are 18.5 inches (47cm) wide, while the middle seat is 19 inches wide, offering nearly 2 inches more room than found on similar-sized planes built by Boeing and Airbus.
Alain Bellemare, CEO of Bombardier, says the concept of a 3-plus-2 seat aisle was about improved customer experience.
"We wanted people to feel good about flying the aircraft. The concept was to provide a bit more room for people in the middle seat and the good news is we only have one middle seat," he says.
Bellemare also believes the wider aisle layout will allow for quicker embarking and disembarking of passengers.
The CS-100, which can fly between 108 to 133 passengers, also comes equipped with taller lavatories than typically found on commercial jet liners.
In April this year, Bombardier confirmed that Delta Airlines is to buy 75 CS-100 aircraft with an option to purchase 50 more.
Based on the list price of the CS-100 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately US$5.6 billion.
The plane's development has run late, weighing on Bombardier's stock price and triggering the replacement of most of its executive team.
Bellemare admitted that the deal with Delta was sweetened to allow the CS-100 program to regain some lost momentum.
"When I took over I made it clear we were going to be more aggressive on some campaigns, so clearly Delta and Air Canada we were a bit more aggressive," he said.
"But in the end we did the right thing to make sure that the program was going to have long term success," he added.
Bellamere also confirmed that the firm has received operational certification for a larger CS-300 which will now move in to operational mode.
Bellemare said he doesn't believe Bombardier is directly competing with Boeing and Airbus as his company's planes are of a smaller size.