LONDON – Australian carrier Qantas has completed its first passenger flight on their first newly refurbished A380 aircraft.
Registered VH-OQK, it operated as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore and arrived back into Australia on October 2.
It is the first of 12 aircraft that will be upgraded in a multi-million dollar investment plan to increase passenger comfort and style as they fly.
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, with the airline also confirming plans to complete the upgrade of an additional two A380’s before the end of the year.
“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, 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.”, Mr Joyce said.
The airline has hit the perfect balance with the offer of comfort and style being shown everywhere you look, but with it not being done at the expense of customer comfort or seat accessibility.
Some of the larger changes passengers will notice is with the airlines new Qantas Business class suite, which the airline has replaced the previous sky beds in a 1-2-1 configuration giving every seat direct aisle access.
In addition to this, the airline has added a new first and business class on-board lounge with a self-service food and snacks station, which will be able to accommodate up to 10 guests and includes booth style seating which is an ideal please to socialise and get away from your seat during the flight.
First-class has also seen a whole new look, with the aircraft being upgraded to offer 14 first-class suits, with a larger screen, a new amenity kit all be completed by new contoured cushioning and seat finishes.
Moving on to the Premium economy which is located on the upper deck of the superjumbo, Qantas has introduced a completely new seat which was first debuted on their Dreamliner aircraft, the installation of which has allowed the airline to increase the number of seats from 35 to 60, this has been laid out in a 2-3-2 configuration.
The only changes made of the Economy seating was the introduction of the new colour scheme and new leather headrests with the cabin remaining in a 3-4-3 configuration.
All of these changes now means that the aircraft can carry a total number of passenger of 485 which is 1 more than it could in the old configuration.
The break down of seat changes is as follows: 14 first-class (unchanged) 70 Business class suites ( an increase of six), 60 premium economy (the largest increase of 25 additional seats) and the biggest change was down in Economy which was reduced by 30 seats down to 341.
The airline said that they expect to have completed the upgrades on the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020 with Mr Joyce saying: “By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”
It remains clear that like with other Airbus A380 operators, Qantas is investing into the aircraft and to get it market-ready as we enter the next decade.
Whether this will pay off for the airline will remain to be seen, especially with the dominance of Project Sunrise requiring smaller but more fuel-efficient aircraft with better ranges.