Airbus has unveiled a new layout for its double-decker jet, the A380, making room for up to 80 additional seats.
A series of new interior options, including a redesigned staircase and 11-abreast economy class seating, will raise the capacity of the A380 from 497 to 575 passengers in a four-cabin layout, allowing airlines to potentially generate significantly more revenue per flight.
The “New Forward Stairs” layout, which was presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, will relocate the front staircase, allowing airlines to add 20 more seats across business, premium economy and economy classes. The 11-abreast (3-5-3) economy class layout on the main deck would provide a further 23 seats, while a nine-abreast (3-3-3) premium economy configuration will seat 11 more passengers.
The new seating layouts should not come at the expense of passenger comfort however; the economy class seats remain 46cm wide.
In addition to these changes, redesigned flight crew rest areas, galley areas and sidewalls will allow airlines to squeeze in even more seats.
“This new package for our A380 customers is a smart way to meet airline needs while improving the A380 economics with additional revenues and innovating in passenger comfort,” said Dr Kiran Rao, Airbus; executive vice president of strategy & marketing.
“Only the A380 has the economies of scale and development potential to efficiently solve the problem of increasing congestion at large airports while providing the best comfort for passengers. The aircraft can also serve fast growing markets and airlines regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”
Existing A380 configurations range from Singapore Airlines’ spacious 379-seat version to the high-capacity 615-seat model operated by Emirates. But with these changes, the standard layout will now increase to 575 seats in four classes – and potentially much higher for two- and three-class configurations.
The major beneficiary of the redesign will be Emirates, which has outstanding orders for almost 50 A380s.