Airbus might offer A380 operators 11-across seating in the economy cabin.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) - Thu, Nov 7, 2013

Airbus over ten years ago executives claimed that A380 operators would never go 11-across in the economy cabin. At the time that statement seemed plausible. It was before the first superjumbo had even been built and, besides, economy cabins were still relatively spacious. But nothing is set in stone in the airline business. Now it appears that the Emirates, the airline which introduced passengers to the unpopular 10-across layout on the 777, is actively investigating installing 11-across seating on its A380 fleet. Quoted recently in the Wall Street Journal, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said, "We've tried it [11-across A380 seating]. It works." Aircraft leasing firm Doric plans to order 20 A380s by the end of the year. These A380s will then be offered to customer airlines with 11-across economy seating. Although, for obvious reasons, Doric CEO Marc Lapidus, according to Bloomberg, declined to name his prospective customers. These particular A380s will be configured with as many as 630 seats, which means that this high-density version could carry up to 200 or more passengers more than the existing model. But why the denser seating? Because Airbus is currently facing a tough time with its A380s. No firm orders have been received this year while some existing customers are deferring orders. Although the A380 is a very economical plane, its operating efficiency is coming under pressure from planes manufactured by rival Boeing. All airlines seek to operate the most efficient aircraft. User airlines of Boeing's B777-300ER have found they can squeeze in more seats to almost equal, or even exceed, the capacity of an A380. As we reported earlier this year, Air Canada's three-class B777-300ERs accommodate a whopping 458 passengers. By comparison, Korean Air configures its A380 with just 409...

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