Qantas will be overhauling its A380 cabins to increase business and premium economy seating while removing some seats in economy class in response to “increased customer demand for premium cabins” on Asia, Europe and US flights.
The new cabins will begin being refitted in the second quarter of 2019, with all 12 of the airline’s A380s expected to feature the new layout by the end of 2020.
“Customers love the A380,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “This upgrade is a major investment in putting the next generation of seats on the aircraft as well as more creature comforts to maintain its status as one of the best ways to fly.
“We’re seeing increased demand for premium economy and business class on the long-haul routes that the A380 operates, including from people using their Qantas points to upgrade. When more travellers experience these new seats, we expect that demand will keep rising.”
Under the overhaul plan, 30 of the A380s economy class seats will be removed to make way for six additional business class and 25 premium economy seats. Of particular note is the replacing of the airline’s Skybeds in business class with its new Business Suites, which each have direct aisle access and “better use of cabin space compared with the Skybed”.
Premium economy, meanwhile, will be laid out 2-3-2 and will be the airline’s new product, which it plans to debut on its first B787-9 Dreamliner this December.
The upper deck will also be reconfigured to allow for a redesigned passenger lounge and more room for first and business class passengers. The lower-deck first class will retain its current configuration of 14 suites in a 1-1-1 layout. First class will, however, be among the first classes to see some of the upgrade with memory foam mattresses and a pillow menu being rolled out later this year.
Overall, the new layout will comprise 14 First Suites, 70 Business Suites, 60 premium economy and 341 economy seats. In-flight wifi, of which the carrier has been running trials this year, is expected to be available on the new-layout superjumbos.