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Eleven-across A380 moves a step closer

Published: 19/03/2014 - Filed under: News »

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Airbus has re-engineered the A380's economy cabin to allow airlines to choose whether to opt for a 10- or 11- across layout.

The manufacturer has been forced to act because sales of its flagship superjumbo have slumped.

Airlines, anxious to cut costs in any way they can, are opting for the cheaper to operate B777-300ER and forthcoming B777X, which can accommodate roughly the same number of passengers.

Indeed, Air Canada's new 458-seater B777-300ERs carry more passengers than some airlines' A380s.

Airbus has responded by raising the cabin floor by two inches in the A380's widest section, to increase interior width.

This is important because Airbus wants to honour its pledge to offer 18-inch wide seats, which would give it a competitive edge over Boeing's 777-300ER (see news, October 28).

But the news that Emirates was mulling high-density economy class versions of the A380 elicited much comment from readers, much of it negative (see news, November 6).

Airbus will reveal the new 11-abreast A380 cabin mock-up at next month's Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, according to specialist aviation website runwaygirlnetwork.com.

It remains unclear how the seating will be disposed. Will it be 4-3-4 or 3-5-3? It would appear that the latter would be favoured as, based on average occupancy rates, the unpopular middle seat of three wouldn't be filled all the time.

Irish leasing firm Amedeo, formerly known as Doric, is the instigator of the move.

CEO Mark Lapidus told runwaygirlnetwork: "We pushed Airbus very hard to get 11-abreast introduced [which adds 35 to 40 seats] and in puts in perspective the unit cost issue."

Last month, Amedeo ordered 20 A380s and it is likely that some or all of these aircraft will have 11-across economy seating.

These planes will be leased to other airlines. But the airlines in question remain nameless – for now.

airbus.com

Alex McWhirter

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COMMENTS » 

Speedybird - 19/03/2014 19:19

Ahh.. I am very skeptical of the 458 seat, Air Canada B777 300ER claim.

Done the maths and it's more like 349 seats

http://www.aircanada.com/en/about/fleet/77W.html

ClementHuang - 20/03/2014 04:38

Hi Speedybird,

There are two different configurations to Air Canada's B777 300ER. The 349 seats version is the carrier's two-class configuration, while the 458 seats version is a three-cabin configuration.

As per the link that you attached above, Air Canada currently utilises the 458 seats B777 on its services between Montreal and Paris, Toronto and Vancouver, and Vancouver and Hong Kong. Future routes will include Vancouver-London Heathrow and Montreal-London Heathrow services.

AMcWhirter - 20/03/2014 12:35

As Clement mentions, the 458-seater B777-300ER is gradually being deployed on more routes.

Here's the seating plan of the 458-seater configured 10-across

http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Air-Canada/seatplans/B777-300ER-(three-class)-1

Here's the seating plan of the 349-seater configured 9-across

http://www.seatplans.com/airlines/Air-Canada/seatplans/B777-300ER-7

chewkc65 - 21/03/2014 12:24

Air France 773 carries 475 pax

AMcWhirter - 21/03/2014 15:53

Hello chewkc65

Correct. Air France also operates a high density version with a few more seats than Air Canada's configuration.

But the difference is that Air France mainly uses its high-density B777-300 on holiday routes whereas Air Canada tends to deploy its high-density B777-300ER on routes patronised by business travellers.

According to seatplans.com the Air France plane accommodates 468 passengers (10 more than Air Canada's B777-300ER) and not the 475 you mentioned above.

www.seatplans.com/airlines/Air-France/seatplans/B777-300ER-8

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