Just to give this war some extra fuel, here's the other side:
Press release from AI in March 2000
A340 Surpasses The Competition In Traveler Preference
02 March 2000
Airbus Industrie’s A340 is preferred for its seating and engine
configuration by a five to one factor over its closest competitor, according
to a survey conducted by UK-based market research company MORI, in
January this year. The survey confirmed an overwhelming passenger
preference for the A340’s user-friendly seating features and exceptional
level of overall comfort.
When aircraft were identified by name, 69 per cent of all business
travelers surveyed stated that they would prefer to fly Business Class on
an A340 and, when flying Economy Class, 60 per cent of those surveyed
would also opt for the A340.
A wide sample of frequent flyers from North America, Europe and
Southeast Asia, all of whom take flights of over seven hours at least four
times a year, were polled for their preferences concerning seating and
the importance of the number of engines on long trans-ocean flights.
The survey, carried out during January, was commissioned by Airbus Industrie
but designed and implemented independently by the renowned British
The results showed that 91 per cent of Business Class travelers prefer
seats between aisles to be doubles rather than triples, with only 3 per
cent wanting a center seat. The A340’s comfortable 2-2-2-seat standard
configuration for Business Class thus fully gratifies the vast majority of
passengers who dislike the middle-seat provided by its direct competitor.
76 per cent of regular travelers in Economy class favored four-abreast
seats between aisles - a feature of the A340 - in comparison with its
direct competitor’s more cramped five-abreast (preferred by only 6 per
cent). Indeed, passengers naturally reject seating arrangements which
trap them between fellow travelers and considerably hamper their access
to an aisle.
The results of the MORI survey correlate closely with those of two earlier
surveys conducted in 1999, by the International Air Transport Association
(IATA) and the UK market research company, ‘arnold and bolingbroke’,
respectively, both of which showed that passengers strongly prefer the
comfort-oriented seating configuration of the A340.
Airbus Senior Vice President Commercial, John Leahy, commented on
MORI’s further confirmation of these preferences, saying, “You cannot
ignore such consistent findings. Business Class travelers are getting
more knowledgeable and demanding, and do not want to spend long
travel times stuck in a seat between two other passengers. It’s an
inconvenience and an invasion of their personal space.”
The MORI survey also revealed that, of those who expressed an opinion
for long haul intercontinental flights, four-engine aircraft were preferred
by an overwhelming majority.
In this respect John Leahy added, “This is an important issue for many
travelers. With the increased range of future airliners and the demand
for direct routes between North America and Asia for example, aircraft
have to fly for many hours over remote areas like Siberia or the Polar
regions. In a four-engine aircraft, passengers can avoid longer
twin-engine routings and potential delays.”
The first all-new long haul aircraft to enter service in more than two
decades, the A340 – as confirmed by the survey - features exceptional
passenger comfort and ideal seating arrangements, as do all the
A330/340 Family aircraft since they share the same optimum fuselage
This overwhelming passenger preference is directly echoed in terms of
market share. To date, the A330/A340 Family has sold 557 aircraft to 54
customers – over 100 more orders and 80 per cent more customers than
the 777 program. During 1999 alone, 68 A330/A340s were sold,
achieving a 75 per cent market share as compared to the 777 program.
Continuing to prove its success, the A330/A340 family have already
gained 32 further commitments in the first two months of this year.