Qantas recently upgraded the first of its twelve Airbus A380s with new Business and Premium Economy seats, and refreshed Economy and First Class cabins. The mid-life refresh is a win for passengers, especially Business class passengers who can now enjoy much better seats with direct aisle access and a new upper-deck lounge.
But it’s also a win-win for the airline, with the additional premium seats allowing the airline to earn significantly more revenue from every A380 flight.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told shareholders at Tuesday’s Investor Day that the Airbus A380 reconfigurations have increased the aircraft’s average trip revenue by around 7%. This is due to the higher number of premium cabin seats.
The reconfigured Qantas A380 features 70 Business class seats – up from 64. There are also now 60 Premium Economy seats, a substantial increase. Qantas was able to add 25 extra Premium Economy seats by removing the mini-Economy cabin at the rear of the plane’s upper deck and blocking off one exit door.
Although the refurbished Qantas A380s now have only 341 Economy seats – 30 seats fewer than before – Qantas’ clever use of space has increased the total seat count on board the aircraft by one. Premium Economy is a very profitable product for most airlines, and Qantas is now able to collect more revenue overall for each flight.
The increase in premium cabin seating is also good news for passengers. With more seats to go around, it could mean that more upgrades and Classic Flight Reward seats are available.
Qantas’ second reconfigured A380, VH-OQH, should return to service in the coming weeks. The aircraft has been in Dresden, Germany since 22 October.
There is more discussion on the Qantas A380 refurbishments on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas A380 refurbishment news and updates.
Qantas making money on UK flights for “first time in a decade”
At the 2019 Investor Day, Qantas also boasted that its decision to launch Perth-London flights and re-route its Sydney-London “kangaroo route” via Singapore has returned Qantas’ UK services to profit. Qantas claims that its operations to Europe had previously been making a loss for a decade.
The success of Qantas’ Perth-London flight is quite remarkable. Qantas’ average load factor, or percentage of seats filled by paying customers, on this route, is 94%. In Business Class, 99% of seats are filled. Not only this, but Qantas claims it is able to attract a 30% price premium in Business and Premium Economy over its one-stop services from London to Perth via Singapore from the UK point of sale. And despite the very narrow Qantas Dreamliner Economy seats, Qantas says that its Perth-London route has the highest customer satisfaction across its network.
Those are some remarkable statistics. They will no doubt be encouraging Qantas to further pursue its Project Sunrise ambitions of regular, non-stop flights from Sydney to New York and London.