Airbus is firming up specifications for its A380-800 Freighter as it works towards its 2008 in-service target with Emirates and FedEx Express.

The basic entry-into-service aircraft has a baseline maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 590,000kg (1,300,000lb) and is being marketed as a 10,360km (5,600nm)-range aircraft with a 150,000kg payload. Airbus, however, is touting several range and payload options to be available on the aircraft at service entry.

Airbus A380 senior marketing analyst Marie-Ange Plancq says three additional options will be available - an increased payload version, an increased MTOW version for longer range; and an increased MTOW version with additional fuel capacity for extra-long-range operations. The increased payload version will be able to lift 158,000kg, but with its range limited to 5,550km. The MTOW would be restricted to 540,000kg, while the maximum zero fuel weight (MZFW) would be increased to 410,000kg from the baseline 402,000kg.

The longer-range version will have an increased MTOW of 600,000kg,but with a reduced cargo capacity of 127,000kg and MZFW of 379,000kg. This aircraft has a design range of 12,765km with 127,000kg payload. Acentre fuel tank is also being offered for extra-long-range operations with smaller payloads, also using the 600,000kg MTOW. This would enable the A380 to carry 93,000kg of cargo 15,725km, according to Airbus payload/range charts.

These options would be available at service entry without structural modifications, says Plancq, who describes the options as "technical trade-offs". She says: "The aircraft has enough structural margin to cope with the MTOW increase without modifications or operating restrictions," adding the MTOW could be increased to 650,000kg "on current design principles".

Source: Flight International