The Airbus A320 Family aircraft is the preferred choice of 57 per cent of airline customers, a survey of single-aisle aircraft passengers has revealed. This is 33 per cent higher than its nearest competitor.

Skytrax, the London based aviation research organisation, conducted a survey between March and May 2003 resulting in 69,308 completed passenger questionnaires. From this group, 25,625 respondents said they had experienced travel in both the A320 Family and the 737NG. Passengers surveyed included those travelling with full service and low cost carriers based in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

Passengers selected their preferred choice of aircraft type, examining a variety of cabin comfort features, such as cabin noise, cabin width, cabin ambience, seat comfort, overhead bin space and ease of embarking and disembarking.

The A320 Family aircraft emerged as the preferred choice in all the different survey categories – and nowhere more so than in passengers' perception of cabin width. Over 59 per cent of passengers find the A320 cabin width provides a more comfortable cabin.

The cabin width issue is well summarised by one Malaysian passenger who commented: "The A320 is wider than the B737NG, making it more comfortable in terms of elbow space and the width of each seat." This is supported by a British business traveller who said, "the A320 wins for me every time, I know the cabin width difference over the 737NG is minimal but it makes a real difference."

Asked which aircraft provides the most 'spacious' and 'welcoming' cabin, 56 percent of the global survey audience chose the A320 Family. Amongst the North American market, the A320 Family aircraft has significant support, echoed by a business traveller from the United States who said: "The A319/320 is a more spacious and inviting aircraft than the B737NG."

A US low-cost carrier, flying exclusively A320s, achieved some of the highest passenger satisfaction ratings in this survey. Among the airline’s passengers - who have flown both A320 and 737NG aircraft types - a majority 63 per cent favoured the A320. In all other cabin comfort sectors, the Airbus A320 was given higher ratings, giving it a 65 per cent majority.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE SYSTEMS.