Emirates and Airbus officials this year will together work on a second cabin configuration for the Dubai-based carrier's A380.
The cabin will be tailored to shorter-routes and used on flights up to 8 hours, Airbus says. While the baseline configuration now in service seats 489 passengers, Emirates also has announced plans for a three-class 517-seat medium-range set-up and a two-class 604-seat setup. The airline hasn’t announced exact plans on which version is next or where it will be deployed.
Emirates, the largest A380 customer, will also be the first with different cabin layouts.
In addition to Emirates work, Airbus is working this year on a new cabin for Air France. That work is now underway with the first of the A380s having arrived in Hamburg this month, where the cabin is installed. Air France is the first European customer for the aircraft, due to receive its aircraft this year, although operations will likely will not start until 2010.
Also due this year is the first cabin work on a Lufthansa A380.