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Question regarding aircraft seating compared to range

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I was doing some personal research and there's something I don't understand regarding airliner ranges as compared to seating capacity.

As an example, according to Airbus, the A350-9 has a range of 8100NM with 325 pax. However, the Lufthansa A359 carries 293 pax, but according to their website, it has a range of only 7625 miles (6630 NM), which is only approx. 81.8% of the range stated by Airbus. Why would the range be so much shorter? If the 293 pax carried is approx. 90% of the nominal 325 pax carried by the A359, wouldn't the range be 10% longer than what Airbus states, due to the a/c having a lighter load? Wouldn't this be a general rule of thumb for all commercial airliners? If not, what would be other factors involved to affect this?

Any info regarding this topic, would be greatly appreciated.



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Are we talking real world scenario or Sim?

Charlie Aron

CPU-AMD 2GHZ  2GB RAM  NVidia Graphics FSX with SP1 and SP2  running Win XP



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Just a guess but I would think range depends on things like what cost index the airline uses, typical cruise altitude, what kind of equipment the airline installs and many other factors which might explain why the actual airline numbers differ from the manufacturer's. The airline might even make different assumptions about average passenger and luggage weight. As they say "your mileage may vary".


Barry Friedman

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Figures of this kind stated on public facing websites = simplified figures designed for marketing purposes, not proper technical information!

In Airbus' case, their interest is in marketing the maximum theoretical capabilities of the aircraft -- in terms of seating capacity and range, but not necessarily saying that range is achievable with a full payload (range, incidentally, in NM, is a pretty nebulous concept anyway in aviation as it's air distance, not ground distance that counts).

In Lufthansa's case, they're giving their typical seating configuration and, I would guess, a simplified/rounded figure perhaps based on their particular configuration and assumptions about payload which are likely to be different to Airbus's.

In either event, as I say, neither figure is really worthwhile as a technical reference.

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Simon Kelsey



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