Inside Airbus’ (Empty) A380plus Double-Decker Airliner

Jun 20, 2017

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In what would have clearly seemed like an April Fools’ joke had the news been delivered on April 1, one Airbus Paris Air Show announcement at first seemed very real — there was even a modified A380 to match, complete with new winglets and a fresh paint job. But the A380plus is really just a regular A380, plus some paint and two mocked-up winglets. We were almost fooled.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

Seeing the charade to completion, I made my way onboard the “A380plus,” which, as I’m now keenly aware, is simply a test aircraft shell. In fact, this particular A380 doesn’t even leave the ground — it was at Le Bourget long before the show and will remain after all the guests (and “real” aircraft) fly away.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

But I still wanted to see inside.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

While the “plus” model doesn’t actually give us idea of what the finished product would look like — including 80 additional seats in a 3-5-3 configuration, reduced aisle width and compact staircases — it’s certainly interesting to see a superjumbo in this state. You can get a feel for the empty aircraft in the video walkthrough below.

There are a few components inside the plane, such as a cockpit.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

Some Airbus testing equipment.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

More test equipment…

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

Loads and loads of wires.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

And even more wires overhead.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

Otherwise, it’s almost entirely bare. For example, this is where you’d find the bedroom for Etihad’s Residence (see TPG’s full review here).

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

And here’s where you’d find a couple hundred economy seats, or several dozen first and business-class seats, depending on the airline.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

The staircases were just about the only components that were fully intact, though the rear spiral staircase (to be replaced on the plus) was very rickety.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

So what’s next for this particular A380? Well, it may never fly again — it arrived at Le Bourget early this year and is now a fixture of the airport’s Air and Space Museum.

Airbus A380plus Paris Air Show

As for the A380plus, only time (and perhaps Emirates) will tell. For now, it’s little more than an idea — and some fresh paint and mock winglets on a Le Bourget museum piece.

See these posts for more from the Paris Air Show:

I’ll be sharing more posts on this site throughout the week, and you can catch the action in realtime via my Instagram and Twitter feeds as well.

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