Airbus A380 cabin package adds 80 seats.

first_imgEuropean plane-maker Airbus is giving airlines the option to cram 80 more seats into its passenger-friendly A380 superjumbo with a new package of “cabin enablers’’ that includes its derided 11-abreast seating.Some of the changes provide more room for the seats by modifying the cabin layout while others squeeze more people into each row.The average seat count on an A380 in operation today is 497 — below the suggested count of 550 — and the extra space has made it a popular choice with passengers.But the pressures that have delivered passengers low fares also mean carriers are seeking new ways to generate revenue and this includes boosting the seat count on aircraft.With sales of the A380 stalled and the rise of a new generation of fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft, Airbus is looking at ways of making the giant plane more attractive.The new package, released at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg,  would allow airlines to carry 575 passengers in a four-class configuration.It includes new forward stairs that would provide for 20 more passengers in business, premium economy and economy class.The stairs would be relocated from door one to door two and the entrance to the staircase would be combined with that of the lower-deck crew rest.A combined crew rest compartment would provide space for three more premium economy passengers by moving the existing pilot crew rest, located behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area of door one, with the facility on the lower deck.An aft galley stair module which would see the current spiral stairs changed to a square design provides space for 14 more passengers plus two additional food trolleys.An option to remove sidewall stowage would increase the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height and make space for 10 more business class seats in a herringbone layout.More contentious options include nine-abreast premium economy on the main deck, allowing for 11 more passengers, and the previous released 11-abreast economy layout on the main deck, which adds 23 seats.Premium economy varies between airlines. Qantas, for example,  currently offers a comfortable upper-deck seven-abreast layout on a two-three-two basis while Lufthansa offers eight abreast on the same deck in a two-four-two configuration.A nine-abreast configuration would presumably see a three-three-three layout, eliminating the popular double seats.Airbus said the main deck cross-section was allowing seat manufacturers to optimise their premium economy offerings to create “the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible’’.More problematic is Airbus’ “innovative” 11-across concept involving a 3-5-3 configuration. Notwithstanding issues identified with the seats next to the cabin wall, this would put one passenger in the horror predicament of being in a middle seat with two people on either side.The A380’s biggest customer, Emirates, has already rejected the concept, which has the potential to do to the A380’s reputation what 10-abreast seating has done to Boeing’s 777.Airbus Commercial Aircraft executive vice president strategy and marketing Kiran Rao said the new package for A380 customers was a smart way to meet airlines 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,’’ he said. “The aircraft can also serve fast-growing markets and airlines regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”last_img

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