Airbus currently has the keys to the biggest jet plane in the world, the Airbus A380. They just made some more room inside it and some more room for it to fly!
The A380 Plus is currently under development study, which means this is still a concept that Airbus is going forward with. Since this is not a neo, it means no engine upgrades really. But Airbus will work other ways to get the airlines a 13% drop in the price per seat of operating this plane.
The first major change is the addition of winglets to the plane, which would shave off about 4% of the fuel burn on the plane. On a plane that carries 320,000 liters of fuel, that is huge. The airframe manufacturer has put up a few mock designs on display at the Paris Air Show, on an A380 fuselage belonging to the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget Airport.
Airbus is also hoping to increase the maximum take off weight of the plane to 578 tonnes, which means 80 more passengers could come on board, or the plane could fly 300 nm further. The optimized cabin layout is based on the creation of additional space which would happen by making the staircase at the front and back smaller, and a compact cabin rest area. Some of these design changes were already presented at the Aircraft Interior Expo in April. Airbus is also proposing an 11 abreast seating in economy in a 3-5-3 layout.
All of this will be combined with a longer maintenance check interval and a reduced 6 year check downtime.
When do we see this?
The current concept is still a study, and hence, needs a customer commitment to come to life. Emirates being the biggest customer of this airframe could be the one buying it, or not, to start.
With the original A380 being about 10 years old now, the aircraft does need to add some more of the newest upgrades developed over the past ten years. On the other hand, we do hope they get new customers for the Whalejet to be able to make it work.