Airbus on Sunday revealed a development study for an enhanced A380 called the A380plus that features new split winglets, measuring 4.7 meters in height, and a so-called "downlet" that measures 1.2 meters. The new winglet appears on the fourth A380 test aircraft, on display at the show.
Airbus expects the winglets and other aerodynamic improvements to result in a 4 percent fuel burn saving. The study also involves an “optimized” A380 maintenance program and new cabin features first shown at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg last April. Overall, Airbus estimates the cost-per-seat benefit to total 13 percent.
“The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time,” said Airbus COO for customers John Leahy. “It is a new step for our iconic aircraft to best serve worldwide fast-growing traffic and the evolving needs of the A380 customers.”
The new cabin layout, based on the “cabin enablers” presented at AIX, allows up to 80 more seats through the use of redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, a new nine-abreast seat configuration in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy.
The A380plus will have an increased maximum take-off weight of 578 metric tons, stretching range by 300 nautical miles or allowing for the carriage of the extra passengers over today’s range of 8,200 nautical miles.
The A380plus features longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime and systems improvements designed to reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.