American Airlines is planning to add extra-large storage bins on the bulk of its in-service Airbus A321s, 202 aircraft in all, and has chosen Airbus’s aftermarket services unit Services by Airbus to perform the retrofit, the Toulouse-based manufacturer said Dec. 6.

The Airbus-produced bins, called Airspace XL, will provide 40% more storage space for carry-on bags. Dallas-Fort Worth-based American is Airbus‘ first retrofit customer for the bins.

“The contract is a major step for Airbus into the US service market,” Service by Airbus head Laurent Martinez said.

Airbus created the Services by Airbus unit in 2016 to address company projections for a global commercial aviation aftermarket service market worth $3.2 trillion over the next two decades. The unit focuses on four aftermarket service sectors—maintenance, training, upgrades and flight operations.

According to the Airbus 2017 Global Services Forecast, cabin and systems upgrades over the next 20 years will be worth $180 billion, 14% of which will come from North American carriers (38% will come from Asia-Pacific carriers). The upgrades market will be driven in part by intense competition between airlines “who value the ‘passenger experience’ as a differentiator (comfort, connectivity, etc.) as well as systems upgrades,” Airbus said.

In addition to the retrofit project on the in-service A321s, which represent 92% of American‘s 219 A321s, the manufacturer said it will install the new Airspace XL bins on all of American’s in-production A321s.

American has 100 A321neos on order, the first of which is expected for delivery in 2019.

Airbus said the upgrades are part of a project to standardize American’s A321s with a common seat count and interior providing passengers with a consistent travel experience.

Airbus did not release a completion date for the retrofit project nor when American Airlines passengers will first see the new extra-large overhead storage bins.

Mark Nensel