In a way this shouldn’t come as a surprise because it’s the manufacturers’ job to provide the airlines with ever more efficient aircraft.
But what Airbus is proposing with the A380 is something which it has already proposed for the A350.
Back in 2009, Airbus proposed a 10-across A350 variant for exceptional operating efficiency. 10-across on the A350 is (because of its more narrow fuselage) even more dense than 11-across on the A380’s lower deck. Most other A350 carriers would be expected to go for a 9-across layout.
Anyway, Malaysian budget airline Air Asia X was convinced enough to order 10 x A350s which, it said in 2012, would enable it to re-enter the long-haul market. Provided there are no delays, the A350s should arrive in 2015.
But back to the A380 article mentioned above.
In fact the proposed two-class version accommodating 600 passengers sounds impressive.
But even more interesting was Reunion-based Air Austral’s plan to accommodate 840 passengers in a one-class layout on the 2 x A380s it had ordered.
I had thought that Air Austral would be the first A380 operator to install more seats abreast either upstairs or downstairs, otherwise how could so many passengers be accommodated.
But alas, we’ll never know as three years after placing the order in 2009, Air Austral cancelled it.