A Go for 1,000-Seat Airbus?

Has Airbus made an internal launch decision for an even bigger A380?

Airbus
Airbus
** Superjumbo Airbus A380. The company
reportedly has plans to stretch the model to
accommodate as many as 1,000 seats in an
all-economy configuration.**

What’s bigger than “jumbo?” An Australian news outlet has reported that Airbus is ready to pull the trigger on development of a stretched A380 — an airplane that is already the largest capacity airplane ever to fly. Not surprisingly, Airbus has yet to comment on the report, which one would classify either as a leak, if true, or a rumor, if not. The new model reportedly will seat as many as 1,000 passengers in an economy-only configuration but probably only a friendly 700 or so in the standard layout. Airbus has already announced the development of the 900-passenger A380-900, with launch customers ready to take delivery in 2014. While the -900 will be huge, it won’t be the biggest airplane in the world. That distinction belongs to a different type altogether.

The Antonov AN-225, a Russian transport of which there exists only one example, is the largest in terms of length and wingspan, though a thousand-passenger A380 would likely equal or slightly surpass the AN-225 in both regards. Air France and Virgin reportedly are both interested in a larger A380, citing economies of scale, and several Middle East and Pacific Rim airlines are eyeing the 900 model for long-haul all-economy flights that would expand their markets and improve their margins.