Airbus considers stretched ‘superjumbo’

A stretched version of the world’s biggest passenger jet could emerge, according to European manufacturer Airbus.

Reviewing performance in 2014, executives from the company said the double decker A380 could evolve in future.

The company is also launching an extended range A320neo twinjet with an addition fuel tank giving the aircraft the capability to fly transatlantic between Europe and the US east coast.

Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Brégier Brégier said the company continues to see a bright future for the A380, which is in use by 13 airlines.

“The priority today is finding other customers for the A380’s current version; we believe we can and we will do this – because the A380 is the most efficient, today and tomorrow,” he said.

The possibility of higher-density cabins is being offered – with 11-abreast seating in economy class, while still retaining an 18-inch seat width comfort standard for long-haul flights.

“In the longer term, I believe we will move to evolutions of the A380: one might well be an A380neo concept – meaning some upgrades of the aircraft, together with a re-engining; which would make sense,” Brégier added.

“As the A380 is a young platform, we will continue improving this aircraft in the coming 20 years.

“There probably even could be a stretched version – depending on the market demand, and looking at what we can do technically and financially.”

Airbus chief operating officer – customers, John Leahy, said the longer-range A321neo version extends the A320neo family’s market reach.

“This aircraft goes after the market that everyone said needed a replacement: segments flown by the old 757-200s, where single-aisle jetliners are used on long-range operations,” he said.

“We foresee some 500 aircraft in replacement, but it’s more: there’s another 500 aircraft for growth from new market opportunities that can be flown by the long-range A321neo, which will burn about 30% less fuel.”

Airbus has said it “exceeded its targets for 2014” and beaten Boeing for numbers of orders.

Airbus announced that it had won 1,456 net orders last year, down from 1,503 in 2013 – but above Boeing’s total of 1,432.

However, Boeing remains ahead on the number of aircraft delivered – 723 compared to Airbus’s 629.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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