An Airbus A380 capable of carrying an extra six tonnes more than the current heaviest variant will be offered to customers from next year, the company has announced. reports that the new version of the A380 will be able to handle a maximum take-off weight of 575 tonnes. Range will not be affected, and in fact, the European firm says it will be capable of flying 15,500km (8,350 nautical miles).

To do this, however, the A380 will need a new engine to give it the extra thrust required for a heavier take-off. Airbus will once again turn to Engine Alliance, makers of the current GP7200 engines, who will put the new heavy-duty GP7272 into production.

“Rated at 72,000lbs (320kN), the engine provides 2,000lb of extra thrust compared with the current GP7200. The GP7272 will be ready for service in early 2013,” explains the publication.

Despite the extra capability, Engine Alliance has yet to have to be approached by airlines currently operating A380s in their fleets directly. Middle Eastern operator Qatar Airways, for example, is using the GP7200 for its ten new A380s.

Similarly, Air France, Emirates, Air Austral, Korean Air and Etihad Airways, have opted for GP7200 engines from Engine Alliance.

Rolls-Royce, on the other hand, has been operating a more powerful 72,000lb thrust engines for four years: the Rolls-Royce Trent 900. Those keeping an eye on flight progress maps will know that Qantas, Lufthansa, China Southern and Singapore Airlines use the Trent 900 in their A380s.

In fact, the Trent 900 continues to be the leading engine for the Airbus A380 in terms of “through-life fuel burn and emissions”, according to a recent Rolls-Royce performance statement cited by Power Engineering.

The Trent 900 has been selected by 11 of the 16 airlines who had a choice of engine for their A380s, with the latest customer being China Southern.

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