Qantas says it has no plans to upgrade its flagship Airbus A380 business class cabin with the airline's latest Business Suites in the face of growing competition on its flagship routes to the USA and London.
While there was speculation – or more accurately, fervent hope – that yesterday's record-breaking $921 million half-year profit may have raised the curtain on such an announcement, Qantas remains adamant that its A380 business class pods are more than good enough for today's business travellers.
"At this stage we have no plans to replace the A380 Business Suites with those in in our upgraded A330s" a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller, adding that the A380 Skybed II seat "performs very strongly with customers."
The Skybed II seats of the A380's business class deck will go up against Virgin Australia's spacious business class from early April when the challenger begins flying its refreshed Boeing 777s between Sydney and Los Angeles.
Trends at the pointy end
Although the core features of Virgin's The Business and the Qantas Business Suite are on par, the Virgin Australia seat out-guns the 2008-era Skybed II in every measure including comfort, space, privacy, personal storage, easy access to the aisle and size of the inflight video screen, driven by competition and changes in traveller expectations over the past decade.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti has previously described it as "the business class to beat" between Australia and Los Angeles.
Qantas partner American Airlines, which in December began daily Sydney-LAX flights, has a similar seat design to The Business – albeit one based on that of Cathay Pacific – on its own Boeing 777-300ER jets (below).
On the Kangaroo Route to London, Singapore Airlines (below), Etihad and Emirates have also adopted modern 1-2-1 business class designs with plenty of personal space for passengers.
More business class seating stories from Australia Business Traveller
- Concept designs for new Singapore Airlines first, business class
- Is this British Airways' next Club World business class seat?
- Revealed: high-tech 'Waterfront' business class seat with massive 4K screen
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