Qantas to introduce Airbus’ ‘Cabin Flex’ on it’s A380s

  • April 13, 2018

Qantas’ fleet of Airbus A380 will introduce Airbus’ A380 Cabin Flex layout on the upper deck of the aircraft. Qantas plans to squeeze in more seats on the superjumbos – as many as eleven in the premium economy or seven business class seats.

This additional seating will be made possible by re-arranging cabin doors on the upper deck of the aircraft or by blocking off a pair of emergency doors. Airbus will oversee the retrofit of the airline’s eleven strong A380 fleet as it proposed to de-activate the rear-most doors of the upper deck. Qantas is launch customer of Airbus’ Cabin Flex programme.

Airbus maintains that blocking the exit will not compromise the safety of aircraft as it was designed to carry much more passengers than what current airlines opt for.

Other key elements of the A380 refurbishment program include:

  • Replacing Business Class Skybeds with the latest version of Qantas’ Business Suites, dubbed ‘mini First Class’ by frequent flyers. Every seat gives direct aisle access and allows better use of cabin space compared with the Skybed.
  • Installing the airline’s all new Premium Economy seat in a 2-3-2 configuration. This seat is almost 10 per cent wider than the model it replaces and will debut on the Dreamliner later this year.
  • Reconfiguring the front of the A380’s upper deck to redesign the passenger lounge to provide more room for First and Business Class customers to dine and relax.
  • Enhancing First Class, which remains in its current configuration on the lower deck. Each suite will be fully refurbished, including contoured cushioning and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • Updating Economy with new seat cushions and improved inflight entertainment.

Work on the first A380 is expected to begin in the second quarter of calendar year 2019. All 12 aircraft will be upgraded by the end of 2020. The design integration will be managed by Airbus.

The capacity of Qantas A380s after the upgrade will be: 14 First Suites (unchanged), 70 Business Suites (up by six), 60 Premium Economy (up by 25) and 341 Economy (down by 30) for a total of 485 passengers (up by one).

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