PARIS: Enhanced 'A380plus' to have higher MTOW

Airbus said on Sunday it was working on an upgrade of the A380 - called A380plus - with fuel-saving wingtips, confirming plans reported by Reuters in March.

Airbus has struggled to attract new customers for its superjumbo aircraft, with 13 commercial carriers now operating the A380, and Japanese airline ANA set to take delivery of its first superjumbo in 2019.

The European plane maker said the new version would burn up to 4 per cent less fuel thanks to its new winglets, which are created to reduce drag.

Airbus is to increase the maximum take-off weight of the A380 as part of a package of enhancements to the aircraft, which it will collectively brand as the "A380plus".

The new winglets that will be used on the A380plus measure approximately 4.7 meters (about 15 feet) in height.

Peruvian low-priced airline startup Viva Air Peru is close to reaching a roughly US$5 billion deal with Airbus to order about 30 recently upgraded A320neo jets and 15 current-generation models known as A320ceo, two industry sources said. This would allow it to carry up to 80 more passengers (without any reduction in passenger comfort) over the current range of 8 200 nautical miles (nm), or carry the same number of passengers as current A380s over a 300 nm-longer range.

The A380plus will have room for more seats and greater fuel efficiency, according to the aerospace giant.

Airbus also said the A380Plus would require less regular maintenance examinations.

While the only visible change on the outside is the new winglets, customers flying the aircraft will notice many new changes once they have boarded the aircraft.

The redesigned plane will also be able to fit more passengers on board.

"The A380 average seat count would move from 497 to 575 in four classes, and generate significantly more revenue for airlines", the company said in a statement.

The airframer has disclosed the improved performance during the Paris air show.

  • Zachary Reyes