Narrow-body aircraft

A narrow-body aircraft or single-aisle aircraft is an airliner arranged along a single aisle permitting up to 6-abreast seating in a cabin below 4 metres (13 ft) of width. In contrast, a wide-body aircraft is a larger airliner usually configured with multiple aisles and a fuselage diameter of more than 5 metres (16 ft) allowing at least seven-abreast seating and often more travel classes.


The highest seating capacity of a narrow-body aircraft is 295 passengers in the Boeing 757–300, while wide-body aircraft can accommodate between 250 and 600 passengers.

2-abreast aircraft seats typically 4 to 19 passengers, 3-abreast 24 to 45, 4-abreast 44 to 80, 5-abreast 85 to 130, 6-abreast 120 to 230.[2] For the flight length, medium-haul aircraft are typically the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, while regional airliners typically cover short haul.


Historically, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, twin engine narrow-body aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 Classic, McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 and Airbus A320 were primarily employed in short to medium-haul markets requiring neither the range nor the passenger-carrying capacity of that period's wide-body aircraft.[3]

The re-engined B737 MAX and A320neo jets offer 500 miles more range, allowing them to operate the 3,000 miles transatlantic flights between the eastern U.S. and Western Europe, previously dominated by wide-body aircraft. Norwegian Air Shuttle, JetBlue Airways and TAP Portugal will open up direct routes bypassing airline hubs for lower fares between cheaper, smaller airports. The B737NG 3,300-mile range is insufficient for fully laden operations and operate at reduced capacity like the A318, while the Airbus A321LR could replace the less fuel efficient B757s used since its production end in 2004.[4]

Boeing will face competition and pricing pressure from the Embraer E-Jet E2 family, Airbus A220 (formerly Bombardier CSeries) and Comac C919.[5]

Between 2016 and 2035, Flightglobal expects 26,860 single-aisles to be delivered for almost $1380 billion, 45% Airbus A320 family ceo and neo and 43% Boeing 737 NG and max.[6] By June 2018, there was 10,572 Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX orders: 6,068 Airbuses (57%, 2,295 with CFMs, 1,623 with PWs and 2,150 with not yet decided engines) and 4,504 Boeings (43%); 3,446 in Asia-Pacific (33%), 2,349 in Europe (22%), 1,926 in North America (18%), 912 in Latin America (9%), 654 in Middle East (6%), 72 in Africa (1%) and 1,213 not yet bounded (11%).[7]

Common narrow-body aircraft types

Six-abreast cabin

TypeCountryProductionFuselageCabinMax. seatsEngines
Airbus A320 family[8]EU1986–present395 cm (156 in)370 cm (146 in)2362×turbofan
Airco DH 121[lower-alpha 1]UK1962–1978344 cm (135 in)1803 or 4 turbofan
Boeing 707/Boeing 720[10]USA1958–1979376 cm (148 in)354 cm (139 in)2194×turbojet or 4xturbofan
Boeing 727[11]USA1963–1984376 cm (148 in)356 cm (140 in)1893×turbofan
Boeing 737[12]USA1966–present376 cm (148 in)354 cm (139 in)2202×turbofan
Boeing 757[13]USA1981–2004376 cm (148 in)354 cm (139 in)2952×turbofan
Bristol BritanniaUK1952–19601394×turboprop
Comac C919CN2016–present396 cm (156 in)390 cm (154 in)1742×turbofan
Dassault MercureFR1971–1975390 cm (154 in)1622×turbofan
Douglas DC-8[14]USA1958–1972373 cm (147 in)353 cm (139 in)2694×turbojet or 4×turbofan
Ilyushin Il-62USSR/RU1963–19951864×turbofan
Irkut MC-21[15]RU2017–present406 cm (160 in)381 cm (150 in)2302×turbofan
Lockheed L-188 ElectraUSA1957–1961984×turboprop
Tupolev Tu-114[16][lower-alpha 2]USSR1958–1963420 cm (165 in)2204×turboprop
Tupolev Tu-154[17]USSR/RU1968–2013380 cm (150 in)1803×turbofan
Tupolev Tu-204RU1990–present (limited production only)380 cm (150 in)357 cm (141 in)2152×turbofan
Tupolev Tu-334RU1999–20091022×turbofan
Vickers VC10[18]UK1962–1970375 cm (148 in)1514×turbofan

Five-abreast cabin

TypeCountryProductionFuselage widthCabin widthMax. seatsEngines
Airbus A220FR/CAN2012 - present350 cm (138 in)[19]328 cm (129 in)1602×turbofan
Antonov 148UKR2002 - present315 cm (124 in)992×turbofan
BAC One-ElevenUK1963–1989320 cm (126 in)1192×turbofan
Boeing 377 StratocruiserUSA1947–19631144×piston engine
British Aerospace 146[lower-alpha 3]UK1987–2001350 cm (138 in)342 cm (135 in) 1124×turbofan
Comac ARJ21CN2007 - present314 cm (124 in)1052×turbofan
Convair 880USA1959–1962325 cm (128 in)1104×turbojet
Convair 990USA1961–1963325 cm (128 in)1494×turbofan
DC-9/MD-80/MD-90/B717USA1965–2006340 cm (134 in)1722×turbofan
de Havilland CometUK1949–?814×turbojet
Douglas DC-4USA1942–1947804×piston engine
Douglas DC-6USA1946–1958894×piston engine
Douglas DC-7USA1953–1958954×piston engine
Fokker F28/Fokker 70/Fokker 100NL1967–1997330 cm (130 in)1222×turbofan
Ilyushin Il-18USSR1957–1985350 cm (138 in) 1204×turboprop
Lockheed ConstellationUSA1943–19581094×piston engine
Sud Aviation CaravelleFR1958–1972802×turbojet
Sukhoi Superjet 100RU2007 - present335 cm (132 in) 323 cm (127 in)1082×turbofan
Tupolev Tu-144[22]USSR1963–19831404×turbojet
Vickers ViscountUK1948–1963754×turboprop

Four-abreast cabin

TypeCountryProductionFuselageCabinMax. seatsEngines
Antonov An-24 USSR1959–1979502×turboprop
ATR 42/ATR 72|[23] FR/IT1984–present280 cm (110 in)257 cm (101 in)782×turboprop
Bombardier CRJ CAN1991—present270 cm (106 in)255 cm (100 in)1042×turbofan
Bombardier Dash 8 CAN1983–present270 cm (106 in)252 cm (99 in)902×turboprop
Concorde FR/UK1965–19791284×turbojet
Convair CV-240 USA1947–1954402×piston engine
Douglas DC-3[24] USA1936–1942, 1950250 cm (98 in)272×piston engine
Embraer E-Jet/E-Jet E2[25] BR2001–present301 cm (119 in)274 cm (108 in)1462×turbofan
Fokker 50 NL1987–1997582×turboprop
Mitsubishi Regional Jet[26] JP2017—present276 cm (109 in)922×turbofan
Tupolev Tu-124 USSR1960–1965270 cm (106 in)562×turbofan
Tupolev Tu-134[27] USSR1966–1984290 cm (114 in)271 cm (107 in)[28]842×turbofan

Three-abreast cabin

TypeCountryProductionFuselageCabinMax. seatsEngines
BAe Jetstream 31/41 UK1982–1997302×turboprop
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter[29] CAD1965–1988, 2008–present175 cm (69 in)161 cm (63.2 in)192×turboprop
Dornier Do 328 DE1991–2000322×turboprop
Embraer EMB 120[30] BR1983–2001; built individually as of 2007228 cm (90 in)210 cm (83 in)302×turboprop
Embraer ERJ 145 family[31] BR1989-present228 cm (90 in)210 cm (83 in)502×turbofan
Saab 340/Saab 2000[32] SWE1983–1999216 cm (85 in)502×turboprop
Short Brothers Short 360 IRL1981–19912×turboprop

Two-abreast cabin

TypeCountryProduction Fuselage CabinMax. SeatsEngines
Beechcraft 1900USA1982–2002 192×turboprop
Beechcraft Model 99USA1968–1986 152×turboprop
Britten-Norman IslanderUK1965–present 92×piston engine
Britten-Norman TrislanderUK1970–1982 163×piston engine
de Havilland DoveUK1946–1947 8–112×piston engine
de Havilland HeronUK1950–1963 14–174×piston engine
Dornier Do 228Germany1981–1998, 2009–present 192×turboprop
Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante Brazil 1968–1990 19 2×turboprop
Evektor EV-55 OutbackCzech Republic2011–present 9–142×turboprop
Fairchild Swearingen MetrolinerUSA1968–2001 192×turboprop
GAF NomadAustralia1975–1985 12–162×turboprop

See also


  1. except seven-abreast for Channel Airways[9]
  2. up to eight-abreast in tourist class
  3. except six-abreast for some operators including CityJet[20] and Mahan Air[21]


  1. Thomas Cook B757-300, seatguru
  2. Ajoy Kumar Kundu (12 April 2010). Aircraft Design. Cambridge University Press. pp. 163–167. ISBN 1139487450. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  3. "The eye of the storm". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-11-03.
  4. Richard Weiss, Andrea Rothman and Benjamin D Katz (September 15, 2016), "Your next trans-Atlantic trip may be on Boeing's smallest plane, the humble 737", Bloomberg
  5. Trefis stock analysis (March 6, 2014), "New Entrants Pose a Challenge to Boeing's Share of the Global Commercial Airplane Market", Forbes Great Speculations, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own
  6. "Flight Fleet Forecast's single-aisle outlook 2016–2035". Flight Global. 10 November 2016.
  7. "Infographic: How is the narrowbody market-share shaping up?". Flight Global. 12 July 2018.
  8. a321 specifications
  9. "Variants". Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  10. 707 acaps
  11. 727 acaps
  12. 737 acaps
  13. 757 acaps
  14. "Commercial Aircraft of the World" (PDF). Flight. 23 November 1961.
  15. MC-21 spec
  16. "Tupolev Tu-114". Flight. 28 Feb 1958. p. 286.
  17. tu-154 specs
  18. "A Little VC10derness". 2017-02-26.
  19. Bombardier Aerospace Commercial Aircraft Customer Support: Airport planning publication Archived 2016-09-20 at the Wayback Machine., p. 5.
  20. "SeatGuru Seat Map Air France RJ-85 Avroliner". SeatGuru. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  21. "Seat Map". Mahan Air. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  22. TU-144 SS Technical Specs: Accommodation
  23. "ATR 72–600 Quick view" (PDF). ATR. February 2017.
  24. "Buffalo Airways Data".
  25. "Embraer 195 Airport Planning Manual" (PDF). Embraer. 9 Oct 2015.
  26. "MRJ Brochure" (PDF). Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. 2016.
  29. "Twin Otter Series 400 Technical Description". Viking Air Ltd.
  30. "Airport Planning Manual" (PDF). Embraer. 30 Oct 2000.
  31. "Airport Planning Manual" (PDF). Embraer. 29 Jan 2007.
  32. "SAAB 2000" (PDF). Saab Aircraft Leasing. 2009.
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