3 JULY 2017


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Article from BTNews 3 JULY 2017

And now – the A380plus

Plans for an enhanced A380 superjumbo, the “A380plus”, with new large winglets to provide up to 4% fuel burn savings and a 13% cost reduction per seat versus the current A380 have been unveiled by Airbus.

A development study released by the company also envisages an optimised A380 maintenance programme and enhanced cabin features first shown at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in April.

The new winglets are about 4.7m (15.4ft) high, with an uplet of 3.5m and a downlet of 1.2m, and are designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag. The cabin layout is based on the “cabin enablers” shown at AIX and allows up to 80 more seats.

There are also redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, and a new nine-abreast seat configuration in Premium Economy and 11-abreast in Economy.

Airbus says the A380plus will have an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 578 tonnes to provide the flexibility to carry the extra passengers over today’s range of 8,200nm, or to fly 300nm further.

The aircraft also features longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime and systems improvements which the company says will reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.


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John Davidson, France/Paris

While the A380, in my little experience (in 1st class), does provide something different, it doesn't seem that airlines or airports want them. The production rate is 1/month. Compare that with what happened with the B747 when it went into production in 1969. Airports need to make a lot of adjustments for what may be just a couple of flights a day. Just traveling across the airfield to get to take-off requires a lot of runway expense. And of course the departure lounges are another question. All those arrivals at the same time can be a headache too. The big competition is really between the A350 and the B787, where an Air France captain told me that the latter is winning the game.