I have been reading some of the posts on the A380 and have become rather frightened that some of you might actually be under the impression that this aircraft will have 4 floors. A recent post suggested that it would, 2 for passengers and 2 for freight. There was a drawing from Popular Mechanics included. Let me be frank about that drawing - it is pure fantasy, highly incorrect, and totally devoid of any relation to the actual airplane.
In order to throw out the fiction and lay down the facts:
- The A380 will have the exact same number of floors as the 747, its cross-section will be nearly identical except for the fact that the upper deck will be a twin-aisle arrangement, rather than a single-aisle plan as on the 747.
- The A380 will have no more or less than 3 floors, which may or may not be used in combination or individually for Cargo, Passenger Seating, or Amentities, such as Shops and Stores, Bars, Sleeping Berths, or Cabins.
- The A380's lower deck will be the same as the lower decks of all other widebodies, inasmuch as it will feature a forward cargo lobe and an aft cargo lobe, divided centrally by a massive central fuel tank. This central division will also include areas for the landing gear to retract into.
- While there are a variety of options fantasized about for this lower deck, the fact is that it will be only marginally larger than that of any other widebody jet. Airlines will probably opt for efficiency and while sleeping berths may be an option and crew rest facilities are likely, discos, bars, and brothels are probably not as likely as some may prefer.
- The A380 will have two passenger floors, almost precisely the same width at the floor. Each will have twin aisle seating. Because the lower deck will have nearly vertical walls and the upper will have sharply curved ones, the seating on the upper deck will be constrained to a narrower area. The remaining space along the sides of the floor will be used for containers which will compensate for the very small overhead containers, exactly as seen on many 747-400s, except twice as wide. Because of the width of the lower deck, and the vertical nature of its walls, it will be possible to have standard overhead bins.
- A combi model of the A380 is offered, to carry both passengers and freight on the main or upper decks. However, because of the awkward nature of loading cargo to two floors, the Combi model will feature cargo and passengers only on the lower seating deck. The main cargo bays below will remain the same, but the central floor, the main seating one, will be divided about halfway back by a bulkhead just forward of the trailing edge of the wing. Behind that will be room for 11 standard 96x125" pallets or containers as carried by the 747-400. While 747-400Fs can carry taller containers because of the arched shape of their fuselage, the A380's two-floor design will restrict the height of containers to be the same as those which can be front-loaded by a 747. The upper deck on the Combi model will feature full-length passenger seating.
- Access between the two passenger decks will consist of a central staircase at the front of the plane as well as a curved one at the back, and two (or more, if desired by the airline) passenger elevators. Whether or not these staircases and elevators extend to the third lower deck will depend on whether or not passenger amentities are included there.
This information is all direct from Airbus Industrie in Paris, and fuselage cross sections clearly showing the 3-floor design can be clearly found on http://www.Airbus.com