BMW to co-design Airbus A350 interior

German carmaker BMW has confirmed it is to help Airbus design the interior of the aircraft-maker’s new A350 jet

The planned cooperation was first reported by the financial daily Handelsblatt, which cited sources at Airbus as saying that BMW would design a cabin for the A350 that will provide customers with greater comfort. BMW spokesman Michael Rebspock confirmed that an agreement had been made, but declined to give details.

Set to start service in 2010, the A350 will be the European firm’s new mid-sized, long-distance aircraft, designed to rival Boeing’s Dreamliner. The Dreamliner, due in 2008, has 185 orders so far. The A350 has 172.

The European consortium, however, is pulling out all the stops in its quest to better the Dreamliner… and is enlisting German automaker BMW to help make A350 passengers feel like they’re in one of the automaker’s upscale vehicles.

Under an agreement announced Friday, BMW will aid in the design of the A350 cabin to provide passengers with greater comfort — something the Dreamliner has touted, with larger windows and wider seats than Airbus had previously announced.

This isn’t the first aviation job for the Bavarian automaker. As was previously reported by Aero-News, BMW DesignworksUSA has also been enlisted by Embraer to design the interior accommodations of that manufacturer’s upcoming Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets.

No word yet if A350 passengers will have to deal with iDrive — the single-point user interface system found in BMW’s upscale automobiles, that has met with broad criticism from drivers for being shockingly unintuitive — to choose their IFE selection, call the flight attendant, or adjust overhead airflow.

Further details of the new cabin will be provided when the mock-up is unveiled during the Interiors Expo 2006 exhibition in Hamburg, which runs 4-6 April.

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