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Airbus figures out how to squeeze 80 more seats into its giant A380 jets

In an effort to squeeze more passengers into each cabin and more revenue out of each flight, the nation’s airlines have reduced legroom and narrowed the seat widths in many main cabin sections.

Although nearly every major carrier is now reporting near-record profits, the move to optimize cabin space continues, with plane manufacturer Airbus unveiling new options to wedge 80 more seats into its giant A380 jets.

At an aircraft interior fair this week in Hamburg, Germany, Airbus officials said they can fit in the extra seats by removing one staircase on the double-decker plane, adding a slimmer staircase, modifying the crew’s rest area and reconfiguring the seat arrangements for economy passengers, among other changes.

“Continuous improvement of our products is our daily work,” Kiran Rao, Airbus executive vice president of strategy and marketing, said in a statement.

The higher density seating in the cabin would mean putting 11 passengers abreast (in a 3-5-3 configuration) in the economy class and nine abreast (in a 3-3-3 configuration) in the premium economy section.

Many airlines now configure the economy classes in a 3-4-3 seat configuration and a 2-3-2 configuration in premium economy.

With the modifications, Airbus says it can seat a total of 575 passengers on an A380.

The changes are available as a retrofit to existing A380s or as options on new jets. Airbus officials told Reuters that the company already has customers “interested and signed” for some of the elements.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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