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Airbus upgrades world's biggest passenger jet

19 Juin 2017

Airbus is offering its customers an enhanced version of the A380 dubbed the A380-plus, seeking to regain market traction with its biggest aircraft. This proposal is designated the A380plus, and is meant to increase the aircraft's economics and efficiency while retaining passenger comfort.

The European plane maker said the new version would burn up to 4 per cent less fuel thanks to its new winglets, which are created to reduce drag.

Airbus yesterday revealed a development study for an enhanced A380 called the A380plus that features new split winglets, measuring 4.7 meters in height, and a so-called "downlet" that measures 1.2 meters.

"The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time", said John Leahy, Airbus's COO of customers.

It will also have an increased maximum take-off weight and need less regular maintenance checks. This increase in the takeoff weight will allow the flexibility of carrying up to 80 more passengers or flying 300 nautical miles (nm) further.

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The A380plus also features longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime, and systems improvements, which will reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

This will add 23 more passenger seats and significant potential for increased revenue to be generated.

Most notably, the forward "grand" staircase on the A380 will be abandoned in favor of a new staircase that will be located at door two.

The A380plus design incorporates various aerodynamic refinements. Together, the reconfigured stairs will offer space for 34 additional economy seats.

It will include an improved fuel efficiency - up to 4 per cent with the addition of winglets - as well as a 13 per cent cost reduction per seat compared to the current variation.