Words by Jason Dutton-Smith
Did you know that Qantas invented Business Class way back in 1979? Actually, Qantas has a few ‘firsts’ impressively tucked under its wing. The world record for longest non-stop flight between London and Sydney in 1989 is just one.
How about the record for carrying the most passengers on a single aircraft when it evacuated 673 residents from Darwin after the devastating cyclone Tracy storms of 1974?
Whatever the accomplishment, Qantas has always been a leader in the aviation industry; especially in the areas of technology and design.
This past weekend Qantas added another feather to its cap, launching the next generation of business class seating while putting the new product into service on flight QF35 between Melbourne and Singapore.
The first international A330 sporting the new Business Suite and economy cabin took to the skies Saturday following the introduction of the first domestic A330 service last month.
Asia, Hawaii and key domestic routes will be the big winners with new features in both the Business Class and Economy Class cabin.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline was excited to welcome the first refurbished A330 to its international fleet, with new cabins set to re-define the inflight experience for the millions of customers who travel between Australia and Asia each year.
“When you combine our investment in lounges with what we’re offering on board our upgraded A330s, it puts Qantas in a very strong position to retain and win customers on key routes to Asia,” said Mr Joyce.
“Our first domestic aircraft has been operating for a little more than two weeks and we have received rave reviews from crew and our passengers. Some have said it’s the best domestic business experience in the world.
“On top of the two years of research and development, more than 200 engineers and support staff at our Brisbane hangar are working on the reconfiguration program, with around 10,000 hours spent on each international aircraft,” he added.
More than half of Qantas’ 28 A330 aircraft are expected to be refurbished by the end of December 2015, with the project to be completed by the end of 2016.
A330 Business Suite
- Designed by Marc Newson and built by Recaro, the new Business Suite features include:
- Additional storage and functional workspaces to offer comfort, flexibility and privacy.
- Seats recline into a fully-flat bed and offer direct aisle access (1–2–1 configuration).
- Seats can be in recline position and fitted with the mattress from take-off right through to landing, maximising the opportunity for rest.
- A sizeable console next to the seat and the design of the meal tray means customers can dine while they work.
- New cotton duvet, mattress, increased pillow size and pyjamas (International).
- Qantas is the first to introduce a fully-flat bed for domestic business travellers on east-west flights, with beds that are the widest on the market.
- Do Not Disturb function and
- Larger 16” inflight entertainment screens.
A330 Economy Class
Not to miss out, the economy cabin has also received the award-winning Recaro economy seat with new features including a new in-flight dining experience launched on Singapore flights offering more choices, larger meals and an improved service.
- Next-generation model award-winning ‘Recaro’ seat used on our A380 aircraft, an earlier version used on the A380 and refurbished B747 aircraft;
- An increase in overall comfort with a streamlined under-seat design;
- New larger seat back entertainment screens;
- Foot nets and multidirectional headrests; and
- An armrest that fits neatly between the seats when folded away.
- International-standard seat pitch;
- Refreshed with latest generation, ergonomic cushioning and seat covers; and
- Multi-directional leather headrests seats for Domestic and International aircraft will offer shared PC power and individual USB ports.