Qantas said today it would offer new seating and interiors on almost all its international aircraft by the end of next year as part of its ongoing investment in new aircraft, aircraft enhancements, product and service.
The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, said a highlight of the program was Skybed - a new, state-of-the-art, cocoon-style sleeper seat - that will be installed on all 30 of the airline`s 747-400s from next month and seven new Airbus A330-300s that will be delivered between June and December next year.
Qantas` new International Business Class, to be launched next month, will feature Skybed as well as specially trained, dedicated Business Class flight attendants; new food and wine; a new service style; a self-service bar for drinks and snacks; premium quality noise cancellation headsets and luxury amenity kits.
First Class customers will also see improvements in seat comfort and cabin enhancements including new bathrooms and amenities.
“The new product and service we offer our international customers will be exceptional, maintaining our reputation as one of the leading airlines in the world,” Mr Dixon said.
“These latest initiatives also build on the recent $300 million refurbishment of our 747-400s, including a new inflight entertainment system that offers in-seat videos in Economy Class, larger personal screens and PC power in Business and First Class and in-seat telephones in all classes.”
Mr Dixon said Qantas was also:
* refurbishing its six 747-300s, installing Dreamtime Business Class seats and new seats in Economy, in-seat inflight entertainment, new interiors and enhanced cabin lighting in and PC power in Business Class;
* opening a new lounge at Los Angeles Airport, following the opening of new international Qantas Clubs in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Bangkok, and Honolulu;
* introducing a Short Message Service (SMS) system from late September, offering a reply facility that will be a world first; and
* installing a unique LED mood lighting system in First and Business Class on the 747 fleet. The system offers light schemes that coincide with cabin activities and time of day to increase customer comfort and relaxation.
Looking further forward, Qantas will take delivery of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft from 2006. These aircraft will revolutionise international air travel and offer even greater personal space and comfort.
Domestically, Qantas is continuing to invest in new, two-class Next Generation Boeing 737-800s.
“This is part of a fleet strategy that will increase the commonality and efficiency of both our international and domestic fleets,” Mr Dixon said.
“Our four A330-200s, which currently fly domestically, will operate internationally with the seven A330-300s that will be delivered in the second half of next year.
“The 767-300 fleet, which currently operates internationally, will replace the A330-200s domestically, operating major domestic routes together with the growing 737-800 fleet and our refurbished 737-400s.
“Overall, we will have a younger fleet that offers customers a better product as well as improving reliability and on-time performance.”
In the domestic market, Mr Dixon said Qantas was also:
* opening new domestic Qantas Club lounges in Townsville, Darwin and the Gold Coast following the opening of new or upgraded lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide;
* further upgrading meals on all domestic services;
* continuing to enhance the Qantas internet site with a booking engine that has made it faster to book online and easier to choose the right fares.
Other recent domestic initiatives include:
* a new, simpler domestic fare structure that allows business and leisure travellers to mix and match one way fares to combine affordability and flexibility to better suit their individual travel needs;
* self-service QuickCheck kiosks at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra domestic airports, to streamline the check-in process.