Qantas has reached an agreement with Airbus on the previously announced A380 cabin upgrade to meet increased customer demand for premium cabins on flights to the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Qantas has reached an agreement with Airbus on the previously announced multi-million dollar upgrade of the airline’s 12 flagship A380 cabins “to further improve passenger comfort on long-haul operations while maximising economics”. Airbus says the new interior takes advantage of the A380’s large floor area to most efficiently embody Qantas’ latest seat products for Business Class and Premium Economy.
Structural changes are focused on the upper deck where 30 Economy seats will be removed and some partitions and a crew workstation rearranged to use space more effectively. This allows for an additional six Business Class and 25 Premium Economy seats, increasing the overall seat count on the aircraft by one and increasing premium seating by 27%.
Other key elements of the A380 refurbishment programme include:
- Replacing Business Class Skybeds with the latest version of Qantas’ Business Suites, dubbed ‘mini First Class’ by frequent flyers. Every seat gives direct aisle access and allows better use of cabin space compared with the Skybed.
- Installing the airline’s all new Premium Economy seat in a 2-3-2 configuration. This seat is almost 10 per cent wider than the model it replaces and will debut on the Dreamliner later this year.
- Reconfiguring the front of the A380’s upper deck to redesign the passenger lounge to provide more room for First and Business Class customers to dine and relax.
- Enhancing First Class, which remains in its current configuration on the lower deck. Each suite will be fully refurbished, including contoured cushioning and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
- Updating Economy with new seat cushions and improved inflight entertainment.
Airbus will be responsible for the overall upper-deck integration. In addition Airbus will develop specific tailored monuments for Qantas and a new and unique business lounge area in the forward upper-deck. The installation phase will start in Q2 2019. All 12 aircraft are planned to be upgraded by around the end of 2020.
Qantas had announced the A380 upgrade plan when it reported its annual results in August.