Airbus has called on the aviation industry to set a minimum seat width of 18 inches for long-haul aircraft.
The manufacturer said its rivals were “eroding passenger comfort” by using narrow seat widths.
The call comes after London-based research showed that sleep quality can improve substantially if seats are a little wider.
Airbus already has an 18-inch minimum width in its long-haul economy cabins, with business and first-class passengers having wider seats.
The company told Sky News: “However, other manufacturers are eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths from the 1950s in order to remain competitive.”
Airbus released details of research conducted by Harley Street medical practice The London Sleep Centre.
Tests were done on a selection of passengers, which included monitoring brainwaves, and eye, abdominal, chest, hip and leg movement.
The tests revealed that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53% compared with the 1950s-style 17-inch standard.
Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, of The London Sleep Centre, said: “The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night’s sleep in the 18-inch seat.”
Kevin Keniston, Airbus’s head of passenger comfort, said: “If the aviation industry doesn’t take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond, especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service.
“Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards.”
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