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The giant A380′s manufacturer, Airbus, already is speaking of a stretch version of the plane that would even further expand the number of seats on offer.
A light and sound show accompanied a formal handover ceremony in the French city of Toulouse, as Singapore Airlines splashed its livery all over the double decker passenger plane ahead of its inaugural commercial flight from Sydney to Singapore next week. But even before the A380 takes to the skies on a commercial basis, Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy is talking of stretching the giant lengthways.
"Imagine if you put in a 100 seat stretch, it looks nicely balanced," Leahy told reporters in Toulouse.
"It’s really up to the airlines themselves. Some are pushing us to do it sooner. Others say, no, this is the right size."
Singapore Airlines chief executive Chew Choon Seng said his airline would be interested in a stretch model, but not immediately.
"I think, if you look at it, the physical dimensions of the plane, it looks to be a candidate for stretch but that can come later," he said during a question and answer session at the A380 launch in Toulouse.
Airbus’s John Leahy added intrigue in Toulouse when he hinted that low cost carriers were looking to take advantage of the enormous fuel savings possible by cramming up to 853 people on to an A380.
The superjumbo uses 2.9 litres of fuel per hundred passenger kilometres compared with the aviation industry average of about five litres per one hundred passenger kilometres.
But that figure is based on having about 470 passengers aboard the plane, and it falls even further when the giant is packed to the rafters.
"At 853, it would be unbelievably low in terms of fuel economy," Leahy said.
"I think you will see some low cost carriers doing that."
However, the A380 already has a much lower freight capacity than the 747, and with the increased passenger numbers, it would be practically impossible to load any cargo on board.