Is Airbus about to ditch the A380’s grand double staircase for what’s being called an A380-Plus makeover? According to one report, the plan is to offer a slimmed down staircase, but 40-50 more seats, bringing the total passenger count above 600. The “Plus” upgrade also calls for wing-tips, all part of a plan to win more business by lowering the cost per passenger. The makeover would apparently improve fuel efficiency by about two percent and add three tonnes to the maximum take-off weight. The A380-Plus changes may even be available as a retrofit for current jets.
Beyond the new tweaks, the health of the programme depends on getting costs low enough so that Airbus can keep output ticking over at 12 a year without losing money, while it waits for what it hopes will be a rise in demand as air travel grows.