Qantas is to replace its first class offering on its Boeing 747 jumbos with additional business class seating, and is to invest AUS$400m reconfiguring its B747 and A380 aircraft.
Our sister website businesstraveller.asia first reported that Qantas was looking at reducing its first class capacity at the start of this month (see online news February 1), and the carrier has now confirmed its plans.
Qantas says it will go to a three-class cabin on nine B747-400 aircraft, removing its first class cabin and installing business seats in its place. It will also retrofit the aircraft with seating and Panasonic IFE products currently available on its A380s, meaning fully-flat beds in business and its Recaro economy offering (Qantas already offers the same premium economy seating on its 747s as on its A380 aircraft).
Configuration will move to a total of 359 seats, with 58 in business, 36 in premium economy, and 265 in economy.
On its A380s Qantas will retain first class on twelve aircraft (existing fleet and those being delivered up to 2012), but will reduce the number of seats in its business cabin, and increase the premium economy and economy offering. The remianing eight A380s due to be delivered from 2012 will feature a three-class cabin with no first class.
Announcing the move CEO Alan Joyce said:
“Maintaining a First offering on flagship routes is essential for Qantas as a premium airline. It is vital that we align this offering with forecast demand which is expected to be relatively slow compared to business, premium economy and economy.
“Our 14 A380 First suites will be offered on twelve aircraft and on daily services from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Singapore and Los Angeles.
“The split A380 fleet will give Qantas greater flexibility to schedule the right aircraft, and the right configuration, on the right route, based on market demand.”
The upgrade and reconfiguration programme will commence at the end of 2011 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.
For more information visit qantas.com.au.
Report by Mark Caswell