Qantas begins A330 Business Suite flights to Hong Kong

By David Flynn, March 24 2015

Qantas will move selected Hong Kong routes onto its upgraded Airbus A330s with all-new Business Suite business class seats from this week.

The Melbourne-Hong Kong QF29/30 service is first up, with today's flight marking the Business Suite's debut at the hub of Oneworld partner but also local competitor Cathay Pacific.

Qantas' Fragrant Harbour frenemy already flies three of its own A330s each day between Melbourne and Hong Kong, with a business class which boasts similar traits of a fully-flat bed and direct aisle access for every passenger.

Qantas also operates daily flights to Hong Kong from Sydney and Brisbane, although there's not yet any word on if or when these will see this reconfigured A330 sitting at the gate.

Exclusive AusBT review: The Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite

The addition of Hong Kong onto the A330 Business Suite roster comes with the rollout of a second international Airbus A330-300 fitted with the new business class (and economy) seats.

Qantas now has four of the refurb’d birds flying.

Two domestic A330-200 versions are mostly seen on the evening Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth services and their red-eye return to the east coast capitals.

The larger international-grade A330-300s will continue to spend most of their time on the Sydney-Singapore and Melbourne-Singapore routes, along with some Brisbane-Singapore runs, while also spreading their wings to Hong Kong.

A spokesperson for Qantas told Australian Business Traveller that “by the end of 2015 we will have 15 refurbished A330s in service,” with that line-up split between eight domestic jets and seven international models.

The make-over of Qantas' entire fleet of 28 A330s is due for completion by the end of 2016.

PREVIOUS | Hong Kong is shaping up to be the next city on Qantas’ roadmap for its upgraded  Airbus A330 fleet with the new Business Suite.

Qantas launched the first of 10 refurbished Airbus A330-300 international jets over the weekend, with the plane to be shared between the Sydney-Singapore and Melbourne-Singapore routes. 

A second international A330 is due to roll out of the airline’s Brisbane hangar at the end of March, allowing both routes to switch full-time to jets featuring the new business class and economy seatings.

“We’re pushing these aircraft out as fast as we can,” says Kylie Morris, Qantas’ Head of Creative Development and Customer Experience, "because  our aspiration is to get it out there flying as soon as possible."

“The maintenance hangar in Brisbane is completely and full. Some aircraft are undergoing a major maintenance check at the same time as they’re being reconfigured, and we’re doing that reconfiguration in 30 days which is pretty damned fast.”

Read: Qantas plans rapid roll-out for A330 Business Suite

The end of August should see another two international A330s take wing, putting the airline in a position to begin flying the upgraded A330s into other Asian cities beyond the launch market of Singapore.

“Our focus is on Singapore and getting penetration on one route so  customers will know they’re going to get that product every time” Morris says. “We’ll then look for penetration on other routes as the numbers (of aircraft) allow us.”

“Hong Kong is another important market for us” Morris admits, “and we have aircraft flying there every day from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

The bustling city also happens to have a dashing new lounge (below) along the same lines as Singapore which can dovetail into the new Sleep Sooner service.

Morris says the decisions on the A330’s roll-out include consider “our competitors on that route, how often we’re servicing that route, and markets where we can help drive revenue.”

The A330 Business Suite will eventually extend to all of Qantas' Asian destinations – Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila, as well as Honolulu – with the entire A330 upgrade program being complete by the end of 2016.

David Flynn visited Singapore as a guest of Qantas.

Also read:

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

About time too - only what? 4 years late for the HKG route which has seen them lose quite a bit of market share to CX due to operating inferior product (axing of QF88/87 and CX upgauging to 77W on CX138)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 6

I guess that is good news if you live on the east coast but for us on the west coast it is just annoying to see we cannot fly the red roo to Asian cities and enjoy the new suites! Cathay for me!

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

Why aren't they doing all the intl A333s first and then the A332s? Their woefully outdated internatioal product is a far bigger concern than their domestic one.

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Could it be because east-west is also very competitive, with two dozen flights a day on the primary SYD-PER and MEL-PER routes where QF is going up against VA's superior product and QF can't afford to lose premium customers from those routes and potentially QF as a whole? Could it be because QF might know better than all these 'armchair experts'?

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

Thank you Mal.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Well said!

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

the A333s are being pulled offline WHEN the schedules permit..also note that each A333 is offline for APPROX 10weeks (2 weeks repaint in SIN, 4weeks refit in BNE, 4weeks scheduled  maintanence in BNE).  All of this is carefully scheduled so that the first process flows into the next and then the next with minimal disruptions to QFs flight schedules.

So it just makes sense (to me anyway) to intertwine the refit schedules of the 18 A332s (a few require/d repaints, a few require just Y/C seat refurbs (the EXISTING  panasonic AVOD seats), and a few require Y/C complete seat changes (the NEW QF ipad seats)...then maybe  some maintanence requirements... these different  A332 processes have different timelines (aprox 4-10weeks)

PLUS BNE facility also handles 737 maintenance requirements.

All in all, i think QF are doing great to schedule ALL this activity in an efficient way/timeline...but yes, as stated, 'armchair experts' know better!!

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

By end of year, Qantas will have a great and consistent product both on the ground and in the air for its two key Asian markets. That'll put them back in the race against two of the finest airlines in the world. Domestically, Mr Borghetti is exacting his own slice of classy vengeance building a full service airline from humble LCC beginnings.

Competition is a good thing and we are the humble beneficiaries.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1242

"Competition is a good thing and we are the humble beneficiaries."

+101!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Well said Fonga, I for one am happy to see Qantas and Virgin Australia fight to keep lifting the bar.

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

I just flew MNL-SYD in full Y and it was a disgrace. This is an upgrade long overdue - other airlines simply upgrade their fleet whereas QF always seem to be playing catchup with what little fleet they have. If QF want to charge $1200 plus each way to asian cities then they should have the fleet to match.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 26

When will we see the new cabins on PER-SYD route? I am on a 330-200 J in early March but suspect I shall be out of luck....

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2344

They're already on that route, Nalin, with the first domestic A330-200 doing Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne in rotation, and a second A330-200 due to start flying early Feb. By early March there should be a third but with about a dozen flights a day on Perth-Sydney and Perth-Melbourne that'd mean your chances would 25% at best.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2013

Total posts 26

Well I did indeed fly one of the new cabins and it's a welcome and vast improvement on the old fitouts...

QantasFF

16 Nov 2012

Total posts 55

Presumably this means the end of PE on HKG, it's very suitable especially for the daytime leg and in my experience well patronised.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 952

Haven't they already announced that the new BNE-NRT flight would have the new seats? That starts in August. It doesn't seem like they'll have enough 333s redone by then to cover SYD/MEL-SIN, BNE-NRT and HKG flights.

04 Apr 2013

Total posts 2

QF is too slow to change their product. When CX decided to do away with the coffin seat - it was gone in the blink of an eye despite being a decent 180 degree seat albeit narrow. Then the regional product has been fully revamped. QF taking till end 2016 is silly. Too late for me now that I am already CX Diamond. 

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 521

Still took them 2 years and of course not all have been replaced. Take the A340's and 747's for example, they just had the seat covers replaced. Though yes because they will be leaving the fleet over the next few years.

And lets not even mention economy class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Apr 2014

Total posts 35

Well better to be late than never , but what gets me no market  place business class product  , my suggestion virgin au on this route with it all new world class business (June launch)  link with V atlantic with OMG direct aisle access , oooo yer what everyone does except qantas , well some of its plane !  Come I on qantas upgrade all your  planes like every other first world airline , you make me fly other airline , mind you ethaid business a380business  is amazing even nicole think so ! 

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Robert, allow me to rephrase for you.

Well, better late than never Qantas. However you still have no market-challenging business class. I suggest that Virgin Australia start a service on this route with their new world class product, launching in June. It could link with Virgin Atlantic with its rather spiffy direct aisle seats.  Hey, everyone does this, except Qantas. Well it does on some of its planes. Come on Qantas - upgrade all your planes and become a first world airline. Then I will fly you and never write cranky rants again. Especially if I get seated next to Nicole in an exit row seat on a quiet overnighter.

:-) 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Sep 2013

Total posts 177

Robert - I believe you have been razzed about your grammar enough times to not take umbrage at Fong's re-write of your last post.   Moreover, I agree with all that you have been saying, spot on.   Along with others, I have been making the odd whinge about the lack of overseas QF flights out of Perth, and I think I detect that more and more posters are joining in similarly.  I/We all hope that QF and AJ are reading the bleats as well, and not just sending them to the Trash bin.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Yeah, sorry Robert. Very smart alec of me to correct your grammar, as Frank implies.

I agree with you on the Perth debacle. But I have whinged enough on this topic myself. Where we differ, is, I think Qantas is on the right track and, like many, I am impatient for the improvements to roll out quicker and for the network to grow. Those are good problems to have if you are an airline.

Apologies again, it was just a bit of fun, but at your expense. My bad.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Sep 2013

Total posts 177

Well said also Fonga, and I also agree with your thoughts that QF may be on the right track, but as I am quickly closing in on age 70, I think I might be too old to fly as often as I would like before it will be of use to me in Perth.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I think it's a great idea for Qantas to fly it's refurbished A330-300's to Hong Kong. Qantas' new J seat is a cut above what's available on this route and is a welcome upgrade.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 272

The sooner they connect these newly refurbished aircraft, new lounges and most popular hubs amoung travellers (as per the AUSBT survey) with London, the better. Qantas and AJ, please take note!!

Qantas

16 Mar 2015

Total posts 4

Great News if you fly Melb-Hong Kong or Sydney-Hong Kong but here in WA we have absolutely NO QANTAS PLANES flying to Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai. It is absolutely wrong. Qantas are just absolutely handing the business to Singapore Airlines (Virgin) and Cathay Pacific on a plate. Really do not understand. Then there is Dubai - sure you can fly on a QF flight number but you must fly on an Emirates plane - and I'm not at all impressed with Emirates product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 6

I agree with you 100% John, as I have previously mentioned we have been disregarded in the whole Emirates / Qantas deal , you cannot help but feel "its only Perth " don't worry about it!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Nov 2011

Total posts 185

Awesome to see, but I swear that the aim was to saturate Singapore with the new J class ( i.e. the first 3-4 planes to enable daily flights from SYD/MEL/BNE-SIN) before moving onto the next key destination.

I am most definately being a lounge chair CEO here but it just seems that by rapidly spreading the refurbished planes across destinations that customers will have to continue to enjoy 'pot luck buisiness class' on key routes for many months to come.  Surely having SIN covered by the refurbished planes by say July, then moving to HKG would be better from a consistency point of view?  The only thing I can think of is that the flight timings are too tight just to keep these planes on single routes, therefore they must be rotated... 

jpm
jpm

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jan 2015

Total posts 2

Is there some way of knowing which QF flights will use the planes with the new business class fitout? I have a to book a MEL-PER flight for in April and I'd like to try out the new business class cabin. I rang and asked the Qantas FF department, but they couldn't help me. Any ideas?

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 70

Anyone   Knows    when   the   Honolulu   Flights   will   get   the   new   business suite? It's  a   long    flight   and  this   route   needs   it   badly!  

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 521

Probably last, right after Jakarta.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2015

Total posts 1

While flying from Melbourne to HK on QF029 on Monday. One of the business class toilets on old configuration was out of order. After being advised by staff it was to trial how business would cope with only one dedicated bathroom for new 28 seat config. Most fo the flight there were at least 1-2 customers waiting for the bathroom. Then the staff decided to unlock the second bathroom to cope with demand with obviously no issue with the bathroom. Concerning if this the plan going forward.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jul 2014

Total posts 22

The same problem exists on the A380 ever since they removed two of the toilets in Business Class. Having recently flown First in QF1 SYD to LHR there were a number of occasions when First PAX had to queue for their own toilets because Business Class PAX now come downstairs because of the length of queue upstairs in Business. Staff don't do anything about it (just a shrug of the shoulders). A simple curtain at the top of the stairs might help. Emirate are very strict ensuring this doesn't happen, so after my return flight I'll change to using Emirates for all future international flights. I pay big, personal money to fly Qantas First (ever since 1979) and I expect rarely to queue for a loo.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 14

Flew into Brisbane from Hong Kong on Qantas QFo98 this morning haveing booked and fully paid for in July last year, business... Utter disgrace, your supposed to sleep, watch TV, screen is so small and so far away.. On the flight from Brisbane to Hong Kong we couldnt even get a meal, they had to split meals or something to give us something to eat, Business class.. Cut my leg quite badly on somethink sharp getting back into my seat, thank god we carry our own bandaids, they didnt want to know about it, except to say they would report it..Never again Qantas, sick to death waiting for your upgrades..!!

QF

15 Apr 2015

Total posts 15

There must have been a last-minute swap to an unrefurbished A330. We flew J-class HKG-MEL on QF30 on Sunday 12/4/15, and still had the 1st Gen angled-flat Skybeds, which were a bit tired. 

We live in Perth, and decided to fly PER-MEL-SIN, HKG-MEL-PER to escape JQ, and use the WF First Lounge in MEL on our outbound leg to SIN, which was great.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 261

Anyone else note these have been put back to 747? Capacity issue?

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 261

I am on QF29 on March 16 and originally is was the A330 but has since changed, same with QF30 on return the week after. 

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