Toulouse, France - Airbus A350-1000, the larger variant of the A350XWB Family, has been certified by EASA to add 40 additional seats, bringing the seating capacity of the aircraft from 440 to 480 seats.
The European planemaker achieved this by designing a new Type-A+ Exit door with a dual-lane evacuation slide.
A review launched by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in June 2019 to evaluate the manufacturer's request to increase the seat count of the A350-1000 concluded that the existing Type A emergency exits were not relevant for more passengers.
As a result, Airbus proceeded to develop a new Type A+ emergency exit, which features enhanced exit lighting, a dedicated exit sign and most importantly, a dual-lane evacuation slide.
The 480-seat version of the Airbus' twin-engine widebody requires modification on all four pairs of exit doors.
EASA's certification also provides flexibility for alternative seating options such as 460 or 470 seats if fewer Type-A+ exits are fitted.
The new design also requires nine cabin crew at least since a third cabin crew member must be assigned at each fitted pair of Type-A+ exits.
The increased passenger capacity of the A350-1000 is likely to take the attention of the long-haul low-cost and charter operators.
Airbus has also used these modified exits in past to increase the capacity of the A330-900 to 460 seats. By increasing the seat-count of the A350-1000, Airbus aims to better compete with Boeing 787-10 and the upcoming 777X.