Saudia Looking At Airbus A321XLR Seating Options

As one of the early adopters of the very long-range Airbus A321XLR, Saudia is keenly eyeing its options for seating in both economy and business class. The airline recently held a two-day event in Jeddah to gather feedback on its options, showcasing seating products from a range of leading manufacturers.

Saudia A321XLR
Saudia is weighing up its options for the cabin products on the A321XLR. Photo: Airbus

Saudia gets feedback from passengers and guests

At a recent event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabian Airlines showcased a range of different seating models for its new Airbus A321XLR. The airline brought seats for both business and economy class cabins, inviting attendees at the event to choose their favorite models.

Director General of the General Organization of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Engineer Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, was in attendance at the two-day event, held in the Saudia Club at the airline’s headquarters. The executive mingled with delegates, listening to feedback and opinions on the seats for this exciting new aircraft.

Members of the AlFursan loyalty program as well as members of the media were invited to experience the different seats under consideration. The seat manufacturers featured at the event included Collins Aerospace, Geven, Thompson Aero Seating, Safran Seats, Stelia, Haeco, and Recaro.

Saudia A321XLR seats
The event featured seats from leading manufacturers. Photo: Saudia

What can we expect?

While the results of the feedback have not yet been made public, the airline is clearly planning something very comfortable for its business class cabin. Among the contenders for the contract is Thompson’s Vantage Solo – the very same seat that formed the basis of the revamped JetBlue Mint product.

Saudia vantage solo A321XLR
Something like the Vantage Solo would tick boxes for Saudia. Photo: Saudia

Saudia didn’t elaborate on the other specific designs under consideration, although it did note that it plans a fully lie flat experience for its business class guests. Additionally, it is planning to have a sliding door on the suite for privacy, as well as a 24-inch HD IFE display and a generous space for dining and working.

Saudia seats
The airline is keen to give guests a fully flat experience. Photo: Saudia

On the economy class side, having Geven named as a supplier suggests they are in the running with their Elemento product. This next-generation economy class seat is targeted at the long-haul passenger, with an adjustable privacy headrest and intelligent touches throughout.

Again, the specifics of the seats under consideration have not yet been revealed, but the airline wishes to ensure a comfortable journey for its passengers. Among the key considerations are plenty of storage space, 13-inch IFE screens, and generous legroom.

Saudia economy seats
Guests were also invited to feed back on the economy seating options. Photo: Saudia

When will we see the XLR in Saudia colors?

Captain Ibrahim bin Salman Al-Kushi, CEO of Saudia, stated that the airline expects its first A321XLR in 2024. Saudia has 15 of the type on order from Airbus, and expects to receive its full quota by 2026.

In terms of destinations, the airline has kept tight-lipped about specifics. However, it did reveal that it will target the XLR at both Europe and Asia, leveraging its mid-point position between the continents.

The A321XLR will join the 154-strong fleet in Jeddah. Saudia flies a mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. It has over 60 A320ceo family jets, which will be updated with the XLR and the A321neo in the coming years. It also has a fleet of 32 A330s, but most widebody capacity is provided by Boeing, with 33 777-300ERs and 18 787s in use.