The Australian airline operator Qantas has decided to entrust the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus for the redevelopment of its A380 cabins.
Qantas' 12 A380s will be redesigned by Airbus Interiors Services, the new Airbus subsidiary. The agreement will be the first contract of the company to increase the capacity of the Qantas' A380s for business and premium passengers, each with new seats. Structural changes are concentrated on the upper deck, where 30 Economy class seats will be abolished. This will add six Business Class seats and 25 Premium seats. The capacity of the A380 (currently 14 + 64 + 35 + 371 or 484 seats) gains a seat (485 seats) but increases the number of seats in the upper classes by 27%, which will increase average revenue per passenger.
Airbus estimates the capacity of the A380's to 575 seats in a four-class configuration instead of 497 passengers today.
Airbus Interiors Services will also design a new business class lounge at the front of the upper deck. The installation phase is expected to start in the second quarter of 2017 and be completed by the end of 2020.
Airbus, which has not yet opted for a remodeling of the Superjumbo before, It must imagine new cabins to make it more attractive. It has devised strategies to increase efficiency, notably with the NFS option "New Forward Stairs" presented last April at the 2017 edition of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. The new staircase, which has been moved from door 1 to door 2, would free space for 20 additional passengers in Business, Premium, and Economy classes. Other innovations are expected to result in additional seats, such as the Cabin Crew Rest (CAB), which allows the addition of three additional Premium passengers to the front of the main deck. Optimized new seats also require 23 additional seats while maintaining the seat width of 18 inches.
On the main deck, a new rear galley staircase module (AGSM) adds another 14 passengers. The passage of a spiral to a square staircase also makes it possible to gain the space necessary for two trolleys. Removing the upper deck storage boxes adds up to 10 additional Business Class seats. Lastly, a nine-seat front-to-front arrangement in Premium, rather than eight, allows the airline to add 11 seats.
Airbus estimates that by integrating all these modifications, the A380's median configuration will increase to 575 seats in a four-class configuration instead of 497 passengers today.