Qantas begins Airbus A330 refit for new business class seats

By David Flynn, November 5 2014
Qantas begins Airbus A330 refit for new business class seats

Qantas has begun upgrading its Airbus A330 fleet to fit all-new business class seats, with the first of 28 A330s rolling into the airline's heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane to begin its make-over.

Each jet will take around 30 days to be fitted with Qantas' new Business Suite.

Read: The Qantas Business Suite – up close with Qantas' next-gen business class

The economy cabins will also get their share of attention, with new seats on the international A330-300 jets and a refresh of the existing economy cabin on the domestic A330-200s.

The overall process will see more than 500,000 new components installed across the A330 fleet, ranging from new seats and 21,000 seat cushions through to interior panels.

Qantas expects the first of the revamped A330s to begin flying in late December on an east-west route, to be followed by international flights in January 2015.

"It’s an exciting day for the team in Brisbane as our first A330 begins its transformation," said Phil Capps, Head of Customer Strategy for Qantas Domestic.

“It will take around 30 days for each aircraft to be fitted out with the new interior and our engineers will be working hard to get our first aircraft ready for service." 

“We believe this seat will deliver the best travel experience between Australia and Asia and probably the best domestic travel experience anywhere in the world,” Capps added.

Also read: 10 things you didn't know about the new Qantas Business Suite

Virgin Australia will also launch new A330 business class seats next year, with the work being carried out in Singapore before the aircraft's debut on transcontinental flights in March 2015.

Virgin Australia's business first' suite
Virgin Australia's business first' suite

Read: Next-gen business class seats: Qantas vs Virgin Australia

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2013

Total posts 45

I assume that it is a A332 that went in first?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2554

I believe so.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2014

Total posts 84

Nope - apparently it is VH-QPA which is a -300. It is also having a check so will come out after the first -200 which will be VH-EBV.

31 Jan 2013

Total posts 42

Does anyone think there should be different Business Class fare depending on aircraft type? I mean, if I paid for Business SYD-PER on a A330 flight and a B737 turned up I'd be right annoyed as the comfort diff is big. If you fly SYD-AKL you pay the same fare whether you sit in a QF B737 or go the codeshare and buy a QF seat on the Emirates A380. On SYD-NAN you pay the same for a flatbed on Fiji Airways A330 as for a recliner on their 737. I know which I prefer, even if it is a relatively short flight. 

09 Sep 2014

Total posts 55

Yes, I do think that there should be different fares depending on what type of aircraft your flying on, and what generation of seat you are flying in.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 143

Does anyone know what is happening to the older A330-200s? Will they be fitted with AVOD? Had one each way Sydney to Perth, was lucky to have a laptop. I love the A330 one of my favourite planes to fly on. 

Those economy seats look about as comfortable as a lawn chair with Ikea couch cushions attached. I find it a bit disingenuous that we economy folk should be happy with these seats while upper classes get more and more luxurious by the year. I have no problem with business and first getting the royal treatment because they pay a lot of money to sit there, but it's obvious to me that all the modern engineering in economy has been used to make the seats thinner, not more comfortable. This extra room isn't passed along to give the customer more leg room; rather it's so that the airline can fit more seats in an already crowded cabin. Those seats are narrower with less padding and no back or neck support. In exchange we'll probably get bigger tv screens in hopes we will forget our discomfort in the hypnotic glare of on demand programming. 

I love flying, everything about it; even though I know the airline isn't concerned with my patronage. They know we have to get where we are going and they lure us on with cheap tickets to pad their books. The real money is up front, hence all the bells and whistles. Too bad 80% of the flying public will never get to experience even a little taste of it back in 3rd class.

The business class on Qantas is terrible by the way. Looks likes the the little corner work space in a Holiday Inn Express room. The Virgin Australia is much much classier and relaxing.

Just being devil's advocate: How much faster would the retrofit of the entire fleet be had the work been outsourced somewhere in Asia, perhaps Singapore or even the United States or Germany?

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 94

good news - hope they have their protective gear ready when they start ripping out the existing ancient fitout! 

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