Upgraded A380 in the works to add seats, cut costs

Airbus has unveiled an enhanced version of the superjumbo, the A380plus, featuring aerodynamic and capacity improvements that could result in an overall 13 per cent cost per seat reduction versus today’s A380.

“The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time,” John Leahy, Airbus COO customers, explained.

“It is a new step for our iconic aircraft to best serve worldwide fast-growing traffic and the evolving needs of the A380 customers. The A380 is well-proven as the solution to increasing congestion at large airports.”

New winglets – designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag – measure approximately 4.7m in height with an uplet of 3.5m and a downlet of 1.2m.

The optimised cabin layout based on the cabin enablers, presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in April this year, allows up to 80 additional seats through redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, and a new 9-abreast seat configuration in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy.

With the cabin enablers, the A380 average seat count would move from 497 to 575 in four classes and generate significantly more revenue for airlines, the European planemaker said.

In addition, the A380plus will have an increased maximum take-off weight of 578 tonnes, providing the flexibility of carrying up to 80 more passengers over today’s range (8,200nm), or flying 300nm further.

Other enhancements include longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime, and systems improvements, which will reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

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