Airbus to fit more seats into super-jumbo with slimmer staircase

The logo of Airbus is pictured at the entrance of the Airbus facility in Bouguenais, near Nantes, France March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Airbus AIR.PA has developed a new, slimmer staircase for its A380 super jumbo to allow for more seats in its latest effort to improve sales of the world's largest airliner.

Reuters reported last month that Airbus was considering doing away with the front “grand staircase” to lower the double-decker’s operating costs and boost fuel efficiency.

Airbus cabin marketing executive Ingo Wuggetzer said that introducing a slimmer stairway instead of the double staircase would generate enough space to add 20 extra seats.

Meanwhile, changing the shape of the rounded stairway at the back to a square one would provide further space, for 14 more passengers plus two food trolleys.

“There’s a lot more revenue generation potential,” Wuggetzer said at the Aircraft Interiors fair in Hamburg on Tuesday.

The changes are available as a retrofit to existing A380s or as options on new jets, Wuggetzer said, adding that Airbus had customers “interested and signed” for some of the elements.

If other space-saving changes such as a new cabin crew rest compartment and a new seat layout are taken into consideration, airlines can add up to 80 more seats, Airbus said.

Airbus recently shelved plans for a bolder upgrade of the A380, involving new engines, due to cost. It also announced plans to cut output to one a month due to poor sales.

Also seeking to drive interest in the A380, Airbus last month teamed up with content platform Routehappy to provide airlines Lufthansa LHAG.DE, Emirates [EMIRA.UL], Cathay Pacific 0293.HK and Singapore Airlines SIAL.SI with content such as pictures and virtual tours for their websites that shows potential passengers the attributes of A380 and A350 aircraft.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; editing by Alexander Smith