Airbus upgrades world's biggest passenger jet

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Airbus has announced a study to upgrade the A380 as it seeks to reinvigorate sales of the world's biggest commercial aircraft.

The optimised cabin layout based on the "cabin enablers" presented at Aircraft Interiors Expo, allows up to 80 additional seats with no compromise on comfort: redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, a new nine-abreast seat configuration in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy.

The biggest buyer of the A380 has been Emirates, which have called on Airbus and engine maker Rolls-Royce to provide a new upgraded "neo" version.

There has been a dearth of orders for the plane as more airlines opt for smaller twin-engine jets, which cost less to fly and maintain.

These tweaks introduced by the aerospace firm will allow for "up to four per cent fuel burn savings", as the winglets are created to reduce drag.

The maximum take-off weight of the A380plus has been increased to 578 t.

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He assured that the new aircraft will help reduce 13 percent of the cost of each passenger seat compared to the A380.

John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers, explained: "The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time".

The study includes aerodynamic improvements in particular new, large winglets and other wing refinements that allow for up to four per cent fuel burn savings. In July a year ago, the airline attempted to rally passenger support for the airline with the launch of its "I Fly A380" website, aimed at showing passengers were willing to make an extra effort to fly on the aircraft.

Airbus officials declined to comment on the plans, which have yet to be finalised and approved. The narrower spiral staircase at the back would also be modified.

The sweeping staircase is one of the first features passengers see on boarding an A380 and captured attention when the A380 was first rolled out as a "cruise ship of the skies" in 2005.