Airbus is to offer A380 customers the option of an 11-abreast economy-class layout using 18in-wide (46cm) seats made possible by raising the floor 2in on the main deck of the superjumbo.
The airframer will show a mock-up of the new configuration at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg in early April. However, the type’s only leasing customer Amedeo has already expressed an interest in becoming launch customer for the layout.
Speaking at the ISTAT Americas conference in San Diego, Amedeo chief executive Mark Lapidus said: “We pushed Airbus very hard to get 11-abreast introduced, [adding] 35 to 40 extra seats.”
Lapidus said the new layout would be made possible through “raising the floor by two inches in the wider part of the aircraft”.
The lessor has yet to secure a customer for any of the 20 A380s it has on firm order, but says it would be “very excited” to have the 11-abreast configuration in all its aircraft. However, it acknowledges that this would be driven by airline demands.
Based on a three-class layout with business and premium-economy cabins on the upper deck, Amedeo says an overall density of around 630-650 passengers could be achieved through use of the new 11-abreast seating.
Lapidus has previously been critical of Airbus’s former marketing strategy for the superjumbo, arguing that too much emphasis was placed on selling it as a “luxury” aircraft, ignoring the type’s potential seat-mile economics.
Deliveries of the lessor’s A380s from its $8.3 billion order are scheduled to begin in 2016.