The first of Qantas’ upgraded A380s welcomed its first passengers this week, delivering a new level of comfort for customers travelling on the national carrier’s largest aircraft.
The multimillion-dollar upgrade of 12 aircraft includes new seating across expanded Business and Premium Economy cabins and a refresh of the aircraft’s First and Economy seating. The on-board lounge has also been redesigned.
Smarter use of space has created an all premium class upper deck (now occupied by Business and Premium Economy) and an expanded on-board lounge. There are now 30 fewer Economy seats and an increase in premium seating by 27 per cent.
Key elements of the upgrade include:
- The introduction of the Qantas Business Suite, replacing the previous Skybeds, in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.
- The installation of the new Premium Economy seat (first debuted on the Qantas Dreamliner) and increasing the number of seats from 35 to 60.
- A larger on-board lounge space with seating for up to 10 Business and First passengers.
- An update to the 14 First Class Suites with new contoured cushioning, seat finishes and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
- A new colour palette for the Economy cabin and improved inflight entertainment.
- The first reconfigured aircraft, VH-OQK, will operate as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia on Wednesday 2 October.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the mid-life upgrade of the A380 would ensure its status as one of the most popular aircraft with customers.
“The A380 is a crucial part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program will see customers enjoy everything the aircraft has to offer for years to come,” said Mr Joyce.
“It also provides an increase in Business and Premium Economy seating to help match the demand we’re seeing on our long-haul routes.
“Working with Airbus, we’ve been able to use the cabin space more efficiently and improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience in every part of the aircraft.
“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”
A further two A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019.
Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade.
The capacity of Qantas A380s after the upgrade will be: 14 First Suites (unchanged), 70 Business Suites (up by six), 60 Premium Economy (up by 25) and 341 Economy (down by 30) for a total of 485 passengers (up by one).
More details of the onboard service will be revealed at a hangar event in Sydney on Wednesday, 2 October.
Qantas expects to complete the refurbishment of the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020.