Emirates Airline Airbus A380. By Kurt Hofmann

Dubai-based Emirates Airline is working on a two-class configuration variant for its Airbus A380 that will enable it to add seats to the aircraft, president Tim Clark confirmed to ATW. The carrier’s current A380 version offers 517 seats in a three-class layout.

The new variant, which could enter service in 2016, would eliminate first class. The upper deck bar would remain.

The airline is still working on an exact number of seats, Clark said. He conceded that additional seats would increase the weight of the aircraft.

He said a more economical two-class Boeing 777 configuration is “on the table again.” At the very least, Clark said that in the long term Emirates will reduce the 777-300ER first-class cabin from eight to four seats and use the additional space to increase seat pitch in business class.

Separately, modification work to repair wing rib cracks on the carrier’s A380s will begin in April, he said.

“The good news is that Singapore [Airlines] got their aircraft back in 42 days; we have calculated 56 days for each aircraft,” Clark said, adding that he hopes all modification work will be completed by November 2014.

Clark also told ATW the company is considering using the A380 to operate on one of its two daily flights between Dubai and Mauritius.