Bombardier Aerospace has launched an extra capacity seating configuration option for the Q400 NextGen that adds up to 14 more seats to accommodate up to 86 passengers.

Nok Air of Thailand, as launch customer, has placed a firm order for two with two options and purchase rights for another four. The total list value of the deal is approximately $258 million.

Mike Arcamone, president of Bombardier Commerical Aircraft, confirmed that Nok Air will be the first to operate the Q400 NextGen in the Southeast Asia region.

Using the existing airframe, the new extra capacity seating configuration option is achieved by converting the front right-hand side baggage door into an emergency exit door, eliminating the front baggage compartment and modifying the galley and wardrobe closet.

At maximum capacity of 86 seats, the seat pitch would drop from 30 in. for standard 76-seat configuration to 29 in., Bombardier says. An 82-seat configuration will be available with the standard 30-in. pitch.

Earlier this week, a panel of current and future Q400 customers, including WestJet, Arik Air, Ethiopian Airlines and Air Ivoire, welcomed the higher density plan, saying the move would help bring down unit costs. Ethiopian, which operates five of its 13 Q400s in a dual class layout, was happy with the move, but said this configuration would not be suitable for its home market.