Airbus unveils A380 “cabin space optimisation” range

Travel News 12 Apr 2017

Airbus has unveiled a range of new “Cabin Enablers” for its A380 superjumbo aircraft, which it says can create space for around 80 additional seats.

The product offering includes a newly designed front staircase, which the manufacturer says would free up space for 20 extra passengers.

Other “enablers” – some of which are already offered to airlines – include an 11-across (3-5-3) economy layout on the main deck (adding 23 economy seats), a nine-across premium economy layout on the main deck (adding 11 passengers), a redesigned rear staircase and aft-galley (adding space for 14 more passengers), and the removal of the upper deck sidewall stowage (increasing business class capacity by ten seats).

Airbus said that “an innovative seating concept” allows airlines to offer an 18-inch seat width in economy while moving to a 3-5-3 layout.

Commenting on the new package of cabin options Dr Kiran Rao, EVP of Strategy and Marketing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft said:

“Continuous improvement of our products is our daily work. 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.”

“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.”

Airbus has struggled to attract new customers for its superjumbo aircraft, with 13 commercial carriers currently operating the A380, and Japanese airline ANA set to take delivery of its first superjumbo in 2019.

Of the just over 200 superjumbos so far delivered, almost half of these are operated by one carrier – Emirates.

In a recent interview with Business Traveller, Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew said that airlines have “missed the point” of the A380, claiming that the sweet spot for the aircraft was between 640 and 720 passengers, serving high density flights between congested airports.

Emirates operates some of its superjumbos in a two-class configuration with 625 seats, and Malaysia Airlines is set to reconfigure its six A380s into all-economy and two-class layouts, and move them into a separate company serving Hajj and Umraa pilgrimage flights and lease services.