Upgrade Alert: British Airways to Redesign Airbus A380 Cabins
The airline's CEO, Sean Doyle, has proposed retrofitting its twelve A380s with all-new First and Business Class cabins
The CEO of British Airways, the flag carrier of the U.K., confirmed in an interview with The Sunday Times that the airline is equipping its Airbus A380 planes with new First and Business Class cabins.
Similar to many other airlines across the globe, British Airways had to stop operating its twelve Airbus A380s at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, these large double-decker planes resumed flights in November 2021 and are expected to remain part of the BA fleet.
However, it is worth noting that some consider the interiors of these planes outdated—a fact attributed to previous CEO Alex Cruz and his alleged cost-cutting measures, which may have resulted in the airline having older planes and reduced customer service.
While many of the airline’s other aircraft have been upgraded with new Business Class Club Suite cabins, replacing the old Club World suites, the A380s have yet to receive these updates.
But Sean Doyle, the current CEO of British Airways, told The Sunday Times that the carrier is committed to spending millions of dollars on upgrading the First and Business Class cabins on its A380 jets, along with the Economy and Premium Economy cabins, while it is also adding new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350s, and Boeing 777-9X aircraft to its fleet soon.
John Arlidge, the journalist who interviewed Doyle, wrote in his article: “Hundreds of millions of pounds will be spent refitting BA’s 12 A380 double-decker superjumbos. This is an aircraft so popular with passengers that most airlines make it their flagship—but, under Cruz, it became BA’s most dated jet. It will have a new First Class – perhaps on the upper deck for the first time – the popular new Business Class Club Suite, also upstairs, and new premium economy and economy cabins.”
It has yet to be confirmed when British Airways can expect to find Club Suite cabins and upgraded First Class seats on its A380s. The retrofitting program was initially planned to begin this year and last until 2025, but the impact of the pandemic has almost certainly delayed this.
The airline is also retrofitting its Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Club Suites, with the first updated aircraft expected to take its first flight in October.
British Airways’ A380s have three cabin classes on each level. The top deck features Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, while the bottom deck has First Class cabins. Economy seats are located on both decks.
However, with Doyle’s suggestion that the first class cabin could be moved to the upper deck, British Airways’ A380s could follow a more traditional layout, with the entire upper deck reserved for premium passengers.
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