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1. THE UPDATED BUSINESS CLASS.
BY THE END OF 2020, QANTAS WILL
HAVE NEXT-GENERATION SEATING
ACROSS ITS ENTIRE LONG-HAUL
FLEET OF A380s, A330s AND B787s
2. THE UPGRADED INTERIORS
REALLY GIVE THE UNIQUE A380
STAIR AREAS THE PASSENGER
APPEAL THEY DESERVE
012 NOVEMBER 2019
Qantas is making major mid-life upgrades to its A380 interiors,
including configuration and seat design alterations to boost
the aircrafts’ economics, and an enhanced onboard lounge
Qantas is undertaking a major mid-life
upgrade programme for its fleet of 12
A380s, the first of which takes flight
in October with a range of cabin
enhancements. With an average flight
time of 11 hours, comfort is paramount
for the more than two million passengers
why fly on these A380s every year.
Upgrades include a reconfiguration
whereby the upper deck has become all
business and premium economy classes,
with a 27% increase in seat count for
these lucrative seats enabled by the
removal of 30 economy seats.
The business cabins look drastically
different, with the Marc Newson-designed Skybed II seats replaced
with the Qantas Business Suite (based on the Thompson Vantage XL
platform) in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every
passenger, as well as a larger flat bed and enlarged stowage spaces
and work surfaces. The cabin now has 70 seats, an increase of six.
The increase in seat count is more impressive in premium economy,
which now boasts 60 seats (up by 25). The seat is the same model
The outgoing A380s didn’t
really make best use of the
upper deck spaces to either
side of the forward staircase,
with one side used as a crew
work area and the other a
narrow space with a sofa and
IFE display – not much of a
lure away from the comforts
of business or first class.
However, the new lounge
space, reimagined by David
introduced on the airline’s B787s, which is a
meaningful upgrade from the outgoing A380 model
launched in 2008, with a seat width of up to 22.8in
representing a claimed increase of nearly 10%. This
seat is also manufactured by Thompson, with the
base design customised by Australian designer,
David Caon, to include a unique recline motion.
As the occupant reclines the rear of the seat,
several sections shift to support the body during
this movement, including a re-engineered footrest.
Caon, is a major improvement,
with the crew area replaced
with a self-service bar and
small seating area, and the
sofa replaced with a more
social space where people
can face each other on the
deep green leather couches.
The wood-panelled walls
and soft LED lamps help
create a café atmosphere
for up to 10 guests.
The size of the HD Panasonic IFE displays has
increased substantially throughout the A380s,
with screen size in business class growing
from 12in to 16in, from 17in to 18in in first
class, and from 11in to 13in in premium
economy, all with a resolution
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On the main deck, the focus is on
economy class, with the 341 Recaro seats
customised by Marc Newson to include
a retrim and new cushioning. A great
feature is that these passengers also
have access to a self-service snack bar.
At the front of the main deck, the
14-suite first-class cabin retains the
existing seat count and has undergone
a modest upgrade, with new contoured
cushioning and refreshed, brighter seat
finishes. In all, the A380s now have
capacity for 485 passengers (up by one).
Each aircraft takes approximately
eight weeks to upgrade, and Qantas
expects to complete the refurbishment of
the remaining 11 A380s by late 2020.