Emirates has rejected Airbus proposals to raise the A380’s seating capacity through 11-abreast seating as an unattractive arrangement.
The A380’s standard seating incorporates 10-abreast economy seats on the maindeck. Airbus, along with A380 leasing specialist Amedeo, is proposing to increase the seat count with an 11-abreast layout – which they claim still maintains good comfort standards. This is achieved by slightly raising the seat height to align with the wider part of the cabin, allowing 18in (46cm) wide seats to be accommodated.
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark says the 11-breast seating proposition was something “we went away from because it creates a middle seat in the [centre] five arrangement which is not very attractive”.
Emirates currently operates two A380 three-class configurations, one with 489 seats and the other with 517 seats. Amedeo has proposed a baseline 590-seat three-class layout featuring 11-abreast economy on the maindeck, which should be available from 2016.
However Clark says that the A380’s limited baggage-hold capacity can create problems on certain routes accommodating all the passengers’ luggage.
“Once you go above 517 passengers – depending on where you fly it - the underfloor configuration isn’t as large as we would like,” he says.
“When we fly into the USA everyone takes two large suitcases, so I’ve got to get 1,000 suitcases into it that means we can’t take any freight, even if we’ve got the structural weight to take it. If you went to 600 or 700 seats, on some routes you wouldn’t be able to fit all the cases.”
However, Emirates will introduce a higher-capacity A380 configuration in November 2015 for operation on shorter, high-density routes. Equipped with a 617-seat layout, this configuration retains the 10-abreast economy layout but features a two-class cabin.