Airbus offers more seats on the A380

Airbus today announced the development of new cabin enablers for its largest aircraft the A380. The airline set up a demo at Aircraft Interiors Expo Hamburg, what it called “New Forward Stairs” (NFS) option.

These changes are aimed at adding seats to the aircraft which will help reduce the cost per seat for the airlines and help Airbus make the A380 attractive for the airlines. The double decker airline has not seen any new order in 2016 and saw its largest customer Emirates work out a delay in the delivery at the end of 2016 for 12 aircraft.

A380 'New Forward Staircase' proposal_

With this latest proposal of the NFS option, the package of new cabin enablers for the A380 now comprises the following:

New Forward Stairs – 20 more passengers (Business, Premium Economy & Economy Classes)

The NFS involves relocation of the forward stair from Door 1 to Door 2, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck (going up), with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest (going down). The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers.

Combined Crew-Rest Compartment (CCRC) – three more passengers (Premium Economy)

For the CCRC, the existing flight-crew-rest (behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area at Door 1) is moved down and combined with the cabin crew rest on the lower deck. This innovation frees space for three extra Premium-Economy passengers at the front of the main-deck.

11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck – 23 more passengers (Economy Class)

Airbus proposes to offer 11-abreast Economy class on the main deck with a “3-5-3” configuration. The additional seat squeezed in will help add 23 seats. Airbus promises to maintain its 18inch seat-width philosophy.

New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) – 14 more passengers + two food trolleys

The AGSM involves the redesign of the rear-stair from a spiral agreement to a straight/square one. On the main-deck, this allows valuable storage volume for galley modules. Overall the AGSM provides space for 14 more revenue passengers plus two extra food trolleys.

Upper-deck sidewall stowage removal – 10 more passengers (Business Class)

The option to remove the sidewall stowages on the upper-deck increases the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height – which makes space for up to 10 more business class seats / beds when an angled herring-bone arrangement is used.

Nine-abreast Premium Economy on the main deck – 11 more passengers (Premium Economy)

The A380’s generous main-deck cross section – significantly wider than any other commercial airliner – is allowing seat manufacturers to optimize their Premium Economy (PE) seat designs to create the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible. This layout enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.

A total of 317 A380 were ordered of which 208 have been delivered as on end of February 2017.

Its largest customer Emirates has tried pushing Airbus to launch a re-engined version of the A380 on the lines of A320neo and A330neo. However, Airbus formally dropped that proposal last year.

The press release mentions that the average capacity of the A380s currently in operation today is 497 and the seat count would move to 575 in four classes if the airlines opt for the proposed changes.

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