Airbus unveils new version of A380

The new A380plus will have 47-metre-high winglets
The new A380plus will have 47-metre-high winglets

Airbus has revealed plans for a new version of its double-decker jet, the A380.

The new “A380plus” will feature a new cabin layout with space for approximately 80 extra seats, and a range of aerodynamic enhancements – most notably the 4.7-metre-high winglets – that will improve the fuel-efficiency of the aircraft.

“The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers.

“The A380 is well-proven as the solution to increasing congestion at large airports, and in offering a unique, passenger-preferred experience.”

The new cabin layout will increase the average capacity of the A380 from 497 to 575 seats in four classes. This has been achieved through a series of interior changes, including redesigned stairs, a new crew-rest compartment, and the removal of sidewall storage. A new nine-abreast seat configuration is being offered in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy.

The A380plus’ aerodynamic improvements will offer an expected 13% reduction in operating costs per seat, compared to the current A380. The range of the aircraft has also been extended by more than 550km to approximately 15,200km.

The new A380plus is aimed at renewing customer interest in the double-decker aircraft, orders of which have dried up in recent years. While 13 airlines currently operate the A380, Emirates is effectively propping up the programme, with the Dubai-based carrier accounting for almost half of existing aircraft and future deliveries.

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