IN BRIEF | Qantas' flagship Airbus A380 fleet will get a makeover next year, with the business class cabin being pared back while 42 seats are added to the premium economy and economy sections.
A Qantas spokeswoman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that while the swanky 14-seat first class cabin remains at the pointy end, an extra 39 seats will be squeezed into the economy cabin, boosting the 'cheap seats' count from 332 to 371.
Eight of the spacious Skybed II lie-flat business class berths will be dropped from the A380's upper deck (going from 72 down to 64) while premium economy will gain three seats (up from the current 32).
That makes a total of 484 seats, or 34 more than today's A380 tally, with almost all of those allocated to economy.
Qantas will receive its eleventh A380 this week and a twelfth by year's end. These will both be delivered in the same standard configuration as the first 10 superjumbos, with a major retrofit operation in 2012 to update the dozen double-decker jets with the new layout.
This will make 2012 a big year for the big bird, with Qantas also set to trial in-flight internet on a limited number of A380 flights early next year and the possibility of introducing the A380 onto the Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth service.