The Airbus A380 is already the largest passenger plane in the world, holding around 550 passengers in its typical configuration, but Airbus says it can make this “superjumbo” jet even more jumbo by reconfiguring it to squeeze in another 80 seats.
Bloomberg Technology reports that Airbus is pitching airlines on the idea of rearranging the A380 layout to make room for the additional passengers. Instead of a spiral staircase from one level of seating to the other, airlines can gain a total of 20 seats in both classes with a straight staircase. Airlines could also add more passengers by configuring seats differently, with eleven across in economy class and nine across in the second-class section.
Other changes would be invisible to passengers: Airbus can move one of the staircases to a different location to make room for more seats, or combine the rest area for pilots with the rest area for the rest of the crew.
“We are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs,” a company executive vice president explained in a statement to the media. Airbus is pitching a plane that carries more passengers as a solution to congested airports and increasing demand for air travel in the coming decades.
Emirates is the biggest buyer of superjumbo planes, and even it won’t order any new A380 jets until the plane gets a new engine. Emirates has configured some of its planes of that model to accommodate as many as 600 passengers, or cut back on the number of passengers to add amenities like in-flight showers, bars, and if its commercials are accurate, in-flight baby-sitting services from Jennifer Aniston.