The grand staircase on board the A380 has since the start of the production been echoing the age of the superliners at sea, but now,†Airbus is toying with plans to shrink them in order to revive sales of the world’s largest airliner. In addition, fuel saving wing-tips are also considered to be introduced in order to cut the double-decker’s overall high operating costs. Slimming the staircase could potentially give room for another 40-50 extra seats, landing the number of seats above 600.†
It’s the wide staircase at the front which is going to be made narrower, while the spiral staircase at the back also will be redesigned and modified.†
That being said, Airbus officials are declining to comment on the plans, which have yet to be finalized and approved.†
Naturally, in a hughe company like Airbus, they are continously looking into ways to improve their current products, and their operating costs according to the ever-changing market of the industry. The staircase is the first passengers see when they board the “cruiseship of the skies”. New vertical wingtips is expected to reduce drag in the air, hence cutting fuel consumption and costs. Some industry experts are hinting at something like 2% improvement in fuel efficiency, even though such wingtips would add some 3 tons to the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft.†
In later years, the number of orders and sales for the A380 have continued to drop as competition from smaller twin engined jets have significantly less operating costs. Airbus is trying to keep production at 12 new A380’s a year.
Industry experts of various branches are still disputing whether the age of jumbos like the A380 and the B747-8, is in the past or somewhere in the future. For example, Singapore Airlines is soon ending their lease-period of five A380’s, and Airbus is actively trying to help them find new investors. So far, there is still no second hand market for the A380, and even a cabin conversion costs to suit a new operator, are also making the after-sales difficult. †