BERLIN, Germany - On Sunday, European planemaker Airbus announced upgrades to its flagship model - the world's biggest passenger jet, claiming that the new additions are cost effective and will boost efficiency.
In its official statement, Airbus said that the 4.7-meter (15-foot) extensions in its A380 superjumbo comes with fuel-saving winglets, that along with other wing refinements will efficiency by as much 4 percent.
Airbus called the upgraded aircraft the “A380plus,” which will also have an increased maximum take-off weight of 578 tonnes.
In April, it announced new stairways, a revised cabin layout that will accommodate 80 more passengers and now along with this upgrade, the plane maker said overall costs per seat should be cut by 13 percent versus the current model.
The plane will have an “increased maximum take-off weight of 578 metric tons to allow for the denser format or add 300 nautical miles of range with the existing 550-seat three-class configuration.”
John Leahy, Airbus’s sales chief, said in the release, “The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance.”
The company said that the cost of the plane’s upkeep will also be reduced by longer intervals between maintenance checks.
The move by the plane maker comes as it tries to revive sales of the flagship model and was revealed to the world on the eve of the Paris Air Show.
It also comes as the Airbus weighs lowering production rates for the A380 below one-a-month from 2018 if it fails to secure orders this year.
Airbus has also added that it would also offer longer time between maintenance checks, meaning the plane can fly more and thus cutting maintenance costs.