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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Qantas reinstates A380 first class and Sydney-London via Singapore and Perth

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Qantas is restoring full first-class service on the A380 as the post-pandemic air travel industry recovers.

Qantas presently has three A380 aircraft in service, with a fourth scheduled to depart from a storage facility in California where it has been parked for the previous two years.

The airline took advantage of the pandemic’s two-year layoff to update the A380 aircraft, adding more luxury seats and remodeling the cabins.

The A380’s business class cabin has been renovated, with 70 refurbished business suites and an expanded premium economy section with 60 seats, up from 35, as well as refreshed economy and First cabins.

The upper deck lounge has also been completely renovated, featuring booth seating for ten people, a self-service bar, and the ability to order drinks and food.

As more customers return, the airline will reopen its International Business Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. The airline also intends to upgrade its First Lounges in Australia, which were operating as hybrid First/Business Lounges during the pandemic, to full premium service.

“We know that our customers have missed the Qantas A380 travel experience as much as our team has missed being able to provide it for them so it’s fantastic that we’re back in the air with our premium full service on these newly refurbished aircraft,” Qantas chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said in a statement.

To add to the good news, Qantas is resurrecting its renowned Kangaroo Route, which has been dormant for more than two years. Qantas passengers travelling from Sydney to London will be able to transit through Perth or Singapore starting in June 2022.

Qantas chose Darwin as the transit stop for flights to London when it began international operations in November 2021. The route is usually flown by the Australian flag carrier from Perth. Western Australia, on the other hand, had one of the world’s harshest and longest border controls, with its borders only opening on March 3, 2022.

Due to ‘uncertainty’ about the opening of Western Australia’s border, the airline had to extend its usage of Darwin as a transit stop to London on February 15, 2022.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce warned local media during a half-year results news conference on February 24, 2022 that the WA government could not guarantee the airline that the borders will open by March 27, 2022, when Qantas’ first flights via Perth were planned to resume.

After upholding its pledge with Darwin, Joyce announced at the time that the Kangaroo Route via Perth would resume in June 2022. On March 14, 2022, Qantas confirmed the plans to AeroTime.

“We’ve been very impressed with how cooperative they have been with the business to do it and we’ve made a commitment for it to stay there until [June],” Joyce said.

“…from the 19th [June], Perth-London starts and 22 June, Perth-Rome starts. So both of them will be operating from that period of time, so I think we’re fairly confident that that will work very well for us.”

Joyce also announced that the A380 will be used to fly the Sydney-Singapore-London route.

“The intent is to put the A380s on Sydney-Singapore-London, so we needed to have the maximum amount of capacity to make that work and we’re planning on the exact same time to start the 380s fully reconfigured. We’ll have three aircraft by then. We can start Sydney-Singapore-London daily and that’ll be pretty exciting for the passengers.”

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