Major global plane maker Airbus on Monday unveiled a proposed refined version of its flagship product, the A380 SuperJumbo airliner. This proposal is designated the A380plus, and is intended to increase the aircraft’s economics and efficiency while retaining passenger comfort.
The A380plus design incorporates various aerodynamic refinements. The most important of these are large new winglets, although there are also other refinements to the wing design. These winglets are some 4.7 m in height (3.5 m above the wing and 1.2 m below the wing).
These aerodynamic improvements would reduce the airliner’s fuel consumption by up to 4%. Added to improved cabin features, already unveiled in April at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, these enhancements would reduce the aircraft’s cost per seat by 13%, in comparison to the current standard A380s.
“The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time,” stated Airbus chief operating officer: customers John Leahy. “It is a new step for our iconic aircraft to best serve worldwide fast-growing traffic and the evolving needs of the A380 customers. The A380 is well-proven as the solution to increasing congestion at large airports, and in offering a unique, passenger-preferred experience.”
The maximum take-off weight of the A380plus has been increased to 578 t. This would allow it to carry up to 80 more passengers (without any reduction in passenger comfort) over the current range of 8 200 nautical miles (nm), or carry the same number of passengers as current A380s over a 300-nm-longer range.
The A380plus would also benefit from systems improvements, and enjoy longer intervals between maintenance checks and a shorter six-year check downtime. These will result in lower maintenance costs and improved aircraft availability.
The A380 is the world’s largest airliner and so far more than 170-million passengers have flown on the type. Airbus reports that an A380 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every two minutes.