Japan Airlines (JAL) is to exercise an Airbus option to reconfigure the cabin on board its Airbus A350 aircraft to better suit demand during leisure travel seasons. Available since the start of Airbus’ A350 program, the option will see JAL swap out 38 business-class seats for 60 economy seats over four days.
While air transportation demand experiences seasonal variation, both in terms of overall passenger volume and travel class segment, options for an airline to adjust its supply are limited. However, Japan Airlines is hoping to better cater to varying passenger demands by using an option to reconfigure its A350 cabin.
JAL’s reconfiguration will see the A350 aircraft it operates on domestic routes lose its second zone of business-class seats, in favor of additional regular economy seats, boosting the aircraft’s overall capacity from 369 seats to 391.
While JAL refers to the option as the “Quick Configuration Change” functionality, it is available to all A350 operators as part of what Airbus terms a “light cabin reconfiguration package.” An Airbus spokesperson said the package has been available since the start of the A350 program, and has already been selected by “several” undisclosed airlines.
If an airline opts for the light cabin reconfiguration package, Airbus installs wiring, brackets and other equipment for a second configuration at the time of an aircraft’s original production. This facilitates the quick change between layouts compared to a traditional post-production retrofit.
JAL’s reconfiguration work is in the second seating zone, between doors two and three (see image above). In the configuration JAL received at delivery (“Type A” on the seat map), the zone has 38 seats across five rows of “Class J” seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, akin to long-haul premium economy. The remainder of the section has regular economy seats. The reconfiguration (“Type B”) replaces the 38 seats with 60 economy seats in a nine-abreast configuration. A cabin monument and cabin divider will be taken out during the work, but there won’t be any changes to more complex elements like lavatories and galleys. JAL told local media it expects to make the change in four days.