Squeeze in: Grand staircase no more as Airbus makes room for 11 in a row on new A380 cabins

By Shayan Shakeel 4 April 2017

At the Hamburg Interiors Expo, Airbus' new cabin proposal for A380 sees it doing away with its iconic grand staircase, and packing in 11 passengers abreast in a 3-5-3 seat configuration.

The floor plan will free up space for up to 80 passengers, "improving A380 economics," says Airbus strategy EVP, Kiran Rao.

“This new package for our A380 customers is a smart way to meet airline needs while improving the A380 economics with additional revenues,” says Rao.

Airbus' new proposal includes "New Forward stairs" (NFS). "These relocate the forward stairs and make room for 20 additional passengers in business, premium economy and economy classes. Meanwhile the new aft galley staircase (AGSM) has been redesigned from a spiral staircase at the rear into a square shaped one that adds 14 more passengers and two extra food trolleys.

The new 11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck allows rooms for 23 additional passengers in economy class and will "maintain an 18inch seat-width," according to Airbus.

Other modifications include a combined crew rest compartment (to add three more passengers in Premium Economy), removal of the upper-deck sidewall stowage (10 more passengers in business), and adding a nine-abreast premium economy seat configuration on the main deck (11 more passengers in premium economy).

"Only the A380 has the economies of scale and development potential to efficiently solve the problem of increasing congestion at large airports while providing the best comfort for passengers," says Rao.

"The aircraft can also serve fast growing markets and airlines regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”


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