Airbus develops new A380 cabin enablers, including “New Forward Stairs” option

Airbus is developing a full spectrum of new cabin enablers for customers of its flagship A380 airliner. The latest is the “New Forward Stairs” (NFS) option, which was presented last week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. 

The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers

Together these cabin enhancements will make the already efficient and comfortable airliner even better: Overall cabin optimization is expected to result in the freeing-up of more cabin floor space for around 80 additional passengers, bringing airlines significant additional revenues.

“Continuous improvement of our products is our daily work," said Dr. Kiran Rao, EVP of Strategy and Marketing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft. "This new package for our A380 customers is a smart way to meet airline needs while improving the A380 economics with additional revenues and innovating in passenger comfort.”

Dr. Rao added: “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. The aircraft can also serve fast growing markets and airlines' regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”

With this latest proposal of the NFS option, the package of new cabin enablers for the A380 now comprises the following:

  • New Forward Stairs — 20 more passengers (Business, Premium Economy and Economy Classes)
  • The NFS involves relocation of the forward stair from door 1 to door 2, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck (going up), with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest (going down). The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers.
  • Combined Crew-Rest Compartment (CCRC) — three more passengers (Premium Economy)
  • For the CCRC, the existing flight-crew-rest (behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area at door 1) is moved down and combined with the cabin crew rest on the lower deck. This innovation frees space for three extra Premium-Economy passengers at the front of the main-deck.
  • 11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck — 23 more passengers (Economy Class)
  • Thanks to an innovative seating concept developed by Airbus and its seating partners, Airbus is able to maintain an 18-inch seat width, while offering airlines an 11-abreast Economy Class on the main-deck in a ‘3-5-3’ configuration. This enables an increase in capacity of 23 seats, adding significantly to the A380’s revenue-generating potential.
  • New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) — 14 more passengers, plus two food trolleys
  • The AGSM involves the redesign of the rear-stair from a spiral agreement to a straight/square one. On the main-deck, this allows valuable storage volume for galley modules. Overall the AGSM provides space for 14 more revenue passengers, plus two extra food trolleys.
  • Upper-deck sidewall stowage removal — 10 more passengers (Business Class)
  • The option to remove the sidewall stowages on the upper-deck increases the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height, which makes space for up to 10 more Business Class seats / beds when an angled herring-bone arrangement is used.
  • Nine-abreast Premium Economy on the main deck — 11 more passengers (Premium Economy)

The A380’s generous main-deck cross section — significantly wider than any other commercial airliner — is allowing seat manufacturers to optimize their Premium Economy (PE) seat designs to create the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible. This layout enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.