It appears that Qantas’ A$2 billion (US$1.7 billion) cost saving programme, first reported by Business Traveller Asia-Pacific (see here), is in full swing as the carrier is preparing to replace the Boeing 747-400 currently servicing the Brisbane and Singapore route with the smaller Airbus A330-300.
The Flying Kangaroo announced back in February that it would be accelerating the retirement of its B747-400s, which are less fuel efficient than newer aircraft models. Increasingly, airlines are retiring this former Queen of the Skies, with Singapore Airlines bidding farewell to it in 2012 after 38 years (see story).
Currently, the Qantas website lists the operating aircraft of flight QF51 (Brisbane-Singapore) and QF52 (Singapore-Brisbane) as the B747-400. However, both flights will be serviced by the A330-300 starting May 12.
Qantas currently offers two daily non-stop services between Brisbane and Singapore, with one of them operated by partner airline Emirates.
So what does this mean for Qantas passengers? Well, the aircraft replacement means that there will be an end-to-end capacity reduction in all cabin classes (for a seat plan of Qantas’ B747, see here).
Perhaps the most significant is the complete removal of premium economy, which does not feature in the two-class A330. Meanwhile, business class seats will be reduced to 30 (down from 56) while economy class will see 267 seats, eight fewer than the amount fitted on the B747. See here for a seat plan of Qantas’ A330.
The capacity reduction will, however, be offset by partner Emirates, which operates a daily flight between Brisbane and Singapore. The gulf carrier began deploying the Airbus A380 onto the route last year, which was previously served by the smaller Boeing B777-300ER (see here). In line with the codeshare agreement shared by both carriers, Qantas passengers may book the Emirates services through the Australian carrier’s website.
Another major difference between the B747-400 and A330-300 is the cabin products on offer. Unlike the business class product on the B747 that features a flat bed seat design, the A330 offers an angled-flat seat design. Although Qantas has announced that it will be retrofit its fleet of 30 A330 aircraft with new seats (which will include business class flatbeds), the process is only expected to be completed by mid-2016 (see here).
There has been no news as to when the A330 serving Brisbane–Singapore will be upgraded.
For more information, visit www.qantas.com.au