First Qantas Business Suite equipped A380 enters service

Qantas bumps up premium seating by 27% on refurbed superjumbo

Qantas has introduced its first of 12 upgraded Airbus A380 aircraft under a multi-million-dollar retrofit. The product enhancement includes new seating in expanded Business and Premium Economy cabins and a refresh for the superjumbos First and Economy cabins.

A “smarter use of space” of the A380’s upper deck has created an all premium class level (now occupied by Business and Premium Economy) and an larger on-board lounge.

The previous 30-seat Economy class cabin at the rear of the top level has been removed, thereby providing a 27% increase in premium seating.

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 (which originally entered service in December 2011), 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 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,” Joyce added.

A further two A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019.

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).

Qantas expects to complete the refurbishment of the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020.

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