Extensive refurbishment work has begun on a $250 million project to overhaul the interiors of nine Qantas Boeing 747-400 aircraft with the installation of state- of-the-art Airbus A380 style seats and in-flight entertainment units.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu today visited the Qantas heavy maintenance facility at Avalon Airfield to inspect works on the first aircraft.
“The new interiors will vastly improve the flying experience for tens of thousands of Qantas passengers every year,” Mr Joyce said.
“Installing A380 style interiors on these B747 aircraft will provide passengers with more style, more comfort, more space and more entertainment,” Mr Joyce said.
“Since Qantas introduced the A380 in October 2008, there has been unprecedented demand for seats on these aircraft. This refurbishment program will give more passengers the opportunity to fly to more destinations with a premium flying experience.”
Other new features include: Panasonic on-demand in-flight entertainment in every seat with over 1500 entertainment options, and a self-service snack bar in economy.
The project will see the current B747 cabin including seats, electrical wiring, fittings, galleys and in- flight entertainment stripped from the aircraft and brand new cabin fittings, in-flight entertainment and equipment installed. It takes six weeks for the interior of each aircraft to be overhauled.
Mr Joyce said the project had secured 120 jobs at the Avalon engineering and maintenance facility, with a further 400 people being employed on other work at the facility.
“The project was awarded to Avalon after a competitive tender process and after beating strong competition from overseas,” he said.
“Qantas is proud that 90 per cent of its aircraft heavy maintenance is done here in Australia. Qantas has facilities in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and at Avalon Airfield. No other major airline does any heavy maintenance in Australia.”
“The quarter of a billion dollar investment is part of the first phase of the Qantas Group’s five-year plan to build a modern, customer-focused and competitive global airline business.
Each of the aircraft will be fitted with 364 seats: 58 Business, 36 Premium Economy and 270 Economy.
The seats in all three cabins have won awards for their design and comfort, including the 2009 Australian International Design Award for the Economy seat.”
The first reconfigured Boeing 747 will commence services between Brisbane and Los Angeles in October, operating three return services per week.
The remaining eight aircraft will be introduced across the international network by the end of 2012. Qantas is yet to determine which route the aircraft will fly.
Qantas will have a fleet of 14 A380s and nine reconfigured B747 aircraft by the end of next year.
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