The problem for Airbus is that it seems its A380 designers never thought that airlines would squeeze more and more passengers into their B777s, B787s and so on
Remember that the B777 was originally designed for a 3-3-3 layout while the B787 was intended to be 2-4-2.
So as Business Traveller originally reported we now find a situation
leading to most airlines now installing 10-across 3-4-3 layouts on their B777-300ERs (and some are now retofitting their older B777-200s with 10-across seating) while every B787 operator, with the exception of JL/NH, has gone 3-3-3.
Air Canada’s new B777-300ER has a high density layout. In total it accommodates 458 passengers which is roughly the same or more passengers as some carriers accommodate on their A380s.
So the B777-300ER is cheaper to buy, cheaper to operate and easier to fill and more flexible too because it can be accommodated at more airports.
But of course it lacks the passenger appeal of the A380 and many/most travellers would claim that four engines are better than two.
So in order to compete by boosting passenger capacity, Airbus has devised an 11-across A380. But the first customer is awaited.
But the first high density A380 will be seen later this year and it will be operated by Emirates.
This A380 will not be the 11-across version but it will be a two-class A380 which will accommodate 619 passengers. No routes have yet been announced but one would expect Emirates to operate any high-density version initially between Dubai, India and SE Asia.