The Airbus A380 will be delivered to Singapore Airlines in less than two weeks and will make its first commercial flight in a little more than three weeks from now (25OCT2007) with the scheduled services following only 3 days later. What will be awaiting the first passengers onboard? And what will be waiting for other passengers flying on the same plane but with a different airline, or as a private jet? We are trying to give you an idea!
First of all the facts: The A380 has approximately 633 square meter (sq m) of cabin area, the upper deck has 300 sq m and the main deck has 333 sq m. Airbus claims the typical configuration would mean 555-seats with three cabin classes (in this arrangement a peson in first class would have 6 times as much cabin space as a person sitting in economy). But the maximum can go up to around 800 passengers in a full economy, low-cost airline type of seating arrangement, and of course the minimum can be one passenger if the aircraft is used as a private jet – there was at least one such order placed as Airlineworld has reported earlier.
Singapore Airlines’ A380s will be configured with a first class cabin consisting of 12 “Singapore Airlines Suites,” at the front of the main deck, 60 business class seats on the upper deck and 399 economy seats spread across both decks. So the aircraft will seat 471 in total. (You can find the seatmap here.) It will be replacing one of three 747-400s on the Singapore-Sydney route, which seats a total of “only” 375, so the increase is almost one hundred passengers. SIA said the business and economy cabin products are modeled on those launched in late 2006 on the 777-300ER. The new Singapore Airlines Suites, which will be unveiled at the delivery of the A380 on Oct. 15, “will feature the ultimate inflight luxury, in a class beyond First,” according to the carrier.
(Update: you can find the Singapore Airlines marketing page about the new cabin here)
Emirates President Tim Clark is promising a spectacular interior for its A380s but is tight-lipped on details, although he was happy to confirm that EK wants to double its commitment to the type. Emirates has recently unveiled the airline’s newest ultra-long-range product aboard a 777-300ER over the stunning skyline of Dubai, but he would only say, “You haven’t seen anything yet” compared to the 777 interior. He said the A380 interior will be revealed in the second quarter of 2008.
Emirates (EK) is reconfiguring its entire 777 fleet with the new look at a cost of $14 million per aircraft, installing the latest version of its Panasonic ICE inflight entertainment system, which now boasts more than 2,000 video, music and game options. The airline is installing first class suites with doors that give total privacy. The suites feature decor and fittings styled on the Orient Express train. Business class gets lie-flat beds while economy seats feature more legroom and larger ICE screens. Something similar can be expected for the A380, but probably with a more luxury… There are no indications about how many seats Emirates is planning to place in their A380’s, but it will either be around Singapore’s 470 or below, as we can assume they will add more first class and business seats, which take more floorspace. I can also imagine they would add more social areas such as bars, or even a gym (as Virgin Atlantic is expected to do so).
Qantas also says it will offer a new first class product aboard the A380, where the seat will have a built-in massage system, and a sheepskin mattress for sleeping. They also say that first class passengers will be availalbe to invite a guest over for dinner in privacy! The massage seats will also be available in Business Class, together with a lounge and a bar, while the economy seats will be the widest across the whole Qantas fleet.
And top of all these luxury aboard the A380 while flying, airlines like Lufthansa are also planning new services even on the ground for first class passengers flying with the largest airplane ever, as Airlineworld has reported earlier.
These were only highlights from plans about the interior of the new A380, looking at only four airlines, but until this day 15 airlines have ordered the aircraft, so there will be at least 15 different interiors to choose from. We are really looking forward to the first one to be unveiled in about two weeks: Singapore Airlines!
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