Detailed Airbus A380 cabin overviews show a typical configuration for 555 passengers and only one area available as an optional passenger facility, but I recall numerous advertisements since the project launch in which the manufacturer stressed the enormous space available in the aircraft.

However, reality is that all available capacity is badly needed to accommodate the configuration of 555 seats and cargo needs. In the alternative for 840 passengers I wonder how such a high density can be achieved without causing a passenger revolt.

One thing is clear, commercials suggesting that this revolutionary aircraft would offer more passenger room, a shopping "centre", casino, sleeping cabins with showers, and bar area and promises that "you are not travelling to your hotel destination, you are already in your hotel" have been grossly exaggerated. To accommodate those uneconomical dream features would require enormous space, which would have to be deducted from passenger-allocated capacity.

The bottom line is that airlines have to produce as many available seat kilometres as possible. To achieve this goal when operating the A380 - which needs a high capital investment - as many seats as possible have to be put in the aircraft. Following this sound economical policy and taking into account the present low passenger yields, only then could an acceptable break-even load factor could be obtained.

Erik Kramer Pontcarré, France

Source: Flight International