Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.
Although the Airbus A380 faces an uncertain future, the aircraft type holds its position as the flagship of many airlines. Qantas apparently has no plans to retire the superjumbo yet and is undergoing a comprehensive upgrade of the entire fleet. The first refurbished aircraft is now in service.
Qantas was keen to increase both comfort and utilisation of space on board its A380s – and it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job of that.
More premium seats, less economy class
One of the steps Qantas has made in the new cabin interior is to remove 30 economy class seats and increase the number of premium seats by 27%. This means that the upper deck now consists exclusively of Business Class seats and Premium Economy. Refurbished aircraft will have a total of 485 seats on board, divided into 14 seats in First Class, 70 in Business Class, 60 Premium Economy and 341 seats in the regular Economy Class.
An important part of upgrading the world’s largest passenger aircraft is a brand new Business Class product. Today’s Skybeds product is replaced with the new Qantas Business Suite, a modern and spacious Business Class seat with more privacy and 1-2-1 layout that provides direct aisle access for passengers.
It is also gratifying that Qantas continues to invest in First Class to the same extent as before. The 14 First Class suites get an update in terms of design and seat comfort, as well as a new entertainment system with better displays.
Qantas is one of the airlines that features an on-board lounge for First and Business Class passengers on its A380s. The lounge area has been substantially upgraded and now has seating for ten passengers.
Premium Economy is upgraded with new seats – the same as those first introduced on the company’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. This class has been a great success for Qantas and therefore the number of seats is increased from 35 to 60.
Important for the long-haul fleet
Although the Airbus A380 is not so popular with airlines, it is well-liked by passengers. For Qantas, upgrading the fleet is important in maintaining this popularity among customers.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, made the following comments:
“The A380 is an important part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program ensures that our customers will enjoy all this aircraft has to offer for many years to come. We have also increased the number of seats in business class and premium economy to meet the demand for our long-haul flights. In collaboration with Airbus, we have found solutions to utilise the space on board more efficiently. In this way, we improve both the profitability and the experience for the passengers.”
The upgrade work will take about eight weeks per aircraft and Qantas expects to have completed upgrades on two more aircraft by the end of 2019. During the next year, the entire fleet will be upgraded.
The first of the company’s twelve A380s will be used on the route between London and Sydney via Singapore..
A version of this article first appeared on InsideFlyer Norway.