Airbus insists that a prospective three-five-three 11-abreast economy-class configuration for the A380 is no big deal from an engineering perspective but could boost seat count in a typical multi-class double-decker by 7%.
Adding that middle seat would mean taking advantage of some main-deck cabin space that is not yet being used, so Airbus’s “standard” 18in (46cm) seat width would still prevail.
“We’re not talking about massive changes – we’re talking optimisation,” says Airbus interiors marketing manager Corrin Higgs.
Chief among these modifications would be to raise the floor by a small amount – Higgs is not saying by exactly how much, but the lift is thought to be as little as 2in – in order to use a bit more of the space in the curve of the fuselage sidewall.
Some small modifications to the overhead central passenger services channel would also be needed, to provide light and oxygen to five seats rather than the three or four currently being configured.
A few airlines and suppliers are working with Airbus to evaluate options, he adds. Airbus had been hoping to show an 11-abreast cabin mock-up at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg, but technical problems with the set-up prevented its display.