Airbus formally unveils higher-capacity A321neo option

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Airbus has formally launched a reconfiguration programme for the A321neo which will enable the new twinjet to accommodate up to 236 passengers.

The programme, details of which were disclosed by Flightglobal in December, has been officially unveiled ahead of the airframer's annual briefing in Toulouse.

Airbus is offering new cabin options on the type from the second half of 2017.

The first option involves installing an extra overwing exit to overcome exit restrictions which limit the A321neo - and the current A321 - to transporting a maximum of 220 passengers.

When this option is combined with Airbus's "Space-Flex" aft cabin, the type's seating can be increased by 16 to a total of 236.

Airbus says this will lead to a 5% reduction in seat-mile costs.

Installation of the overwing exit "leads to the push-back" of door 3 on the type, the airframer adds.

The second option involves de-activating a forward exit - door 2, immediately forward of the wings - to create an undivided forward cabin.

Airbus is aiming this option at the long-range market, saying that it will allow carrier to install extra seats in the premium cabin and provide "more flexibility" in multi-class configurations.

It has yet to disclose a potential launch customer for the reconfiguration options on the twinjet.