EXCLUSIVE | Airbus is cooking up something special for airlines buying its next-gen A350 jetliner – a first class cabin with a single aisle instead of the standard two aisles.

The design could potentially allow a small first class section to be nestled into the nose of the mid-sized A350-900 as well as the larger A350-1000.

An Airbus spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that “the new first-class cabin concept… replaces the two aisles in the original first-class cabin with one single aisle which allows access to potentially four first-class suites.”

“By reducing to one aisle it enables the first-class cabin to offer more space to passengers (or makes extra floor space for additional cabin equipment).”

We’ll grant that the mock-up doesn’t look especially spacious – there appears to be no more room than in some recent business class concepts such as Zodiac’s Fusio suite and the B/E Aerospace Breakout, which turns a business class seat in to a sky-high corner office.

That said, the Airbus mock-up is just that – a piece of early concept art meant to help airlines reconsider conventions and rethink how their premium cabins might be designed.

Of course, this isn’t the first single-aisle treatment for the pointy end – Etihad pioneered the single-aisle layout with its chic first class Apartments on the Airbus A380.