Qantas is sending 21 of its flagship Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft back into the hangars for a refit which will put more seats onto each plane.
The overhaul of nine Boeing 747-400s has been on the cards for over a year, and will see all 14 first class seats removed from the pointy end of the plane to make way for a dramatic boost in the number of economy seats.
The rejigged jumbos are said to sport 270 seats in economy class – some 83 seats more than the current Pacific configuration for the long-range Boeing 747-400ERs. The number of business class seats will drop by eight, from 66 down to 58, while the premium economy cabin is trimmed from 40 seats to 36.
The refit will include all six of the 747-400ERs, some of which currently ply the long-distance Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth route, plus the three most recent 747-400s delivered from 1999-2000.
The bulk of Qantas' original Boeing 747 fleet, which rolled off the assembly line some 20 years ago, is being retired so that these nine upgraded 747s will remain in service by 2013.
In addition to the revamped cabin layout, new seats and fixtures designed for the A380 will be installed — including the fully-flat Skybed II seat-beds in business class (above), Recaro seats in premium economy and economy, self-service refreshment bars (below) and a new inflight entertainment system from tip to tail.
As previously reported by Australian Business Traveller, Qantas will reconfigure its second tranche of Airbus 380 deliveries by ditching the luxurious first class cabin in favour of more business and premium economy seats, boosting the total seat count from 450 up to 484.