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Behold! A380 with modest staircase and more seats

April 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Airbus has eliminated one of the distinguishing features of the A380, the grand forward staircase that sweeps up to the upper deck, in a new option that packs in more seats.

The staircase aboard the world’s largest passenger jet is one of the plane’s distinguishing features, evoking the imposing stairs of cruise liners such as the Titanic. It is sometimes dubbed the stairway to heaven.

The problem is that staircases, even elegant ones, do not generate revenue. Seats do.

That’s why the plane maker now offers the option of less staircase and more seats.

A380 new forward staircase proposal – much more modest

Airbus’s New Forward Stairs (NFS) option was formally presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Airbus expects its modified staircase to free-up more cabin floor space that can be used to seat about 20 additional passengers.

This would bring airlines significant additional revenues, Airbus points out.

The proposal is part of a suite of  “new cabin enablers” for the A380, all aimed at squeezing in more seats. They include plans to put in an extra seat per row. The whole package can squeeze in 80 more passengers per plane.

The tweaks are:

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 extra 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 says it has developed with its seating partners this “innovative seating concept” which maintains an 18-inch seat width while offering airlines an 11-abreast economy class on the main-deck in a ‘3-5-3’ configuration. This enables an increase in capacity of 23 seats – adding significantly to the A380’s revenue-generating potential.

New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) – 14 more passengers plus 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. On the other hand, it also removes a lot of useful and accessible stowage space.

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

This layout, squeezing in an extra passenger per row of seats, enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.

Written by Peter Needham

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