Qantas will refurbish its fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft, providing customers with a greater level of comfort and enhanced in-flight entertainment options.
Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi said the multi-million dollar investment in upgrading the interiors of 67 aircraft that operate on the Qantas domestic network would commence in mid-2015 and be completed within 12 months.
“We are investing in further improvements to the interiors of our Boeing 737-800 aircraft, to improve the in-flight experience for our customers and provide more consistent access to on demand entertainment,” Mr Strambi said.
“In addition to refreshing the look and feel of the cabin and improving seat comfort, some aircraft will also have improvements to in-flight entertainment for customers.
“While 29 of our latest 737-800 aircraft already have full seat back video on demand in-flight entertainment for each passenger, the refurbishment will see wireless Q-streaming entertainment installed on the 38 remaining 737-800 aircraft to supplement the screens that fold down from the ceiling.
“This will allow customers to stream on-demand TVs, movies and music direct to their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. Pending approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, customers will be able to use their portable electronic devices in flight mode throughout the entire flight.
“We know how important entertainment is to people when they fly and this gives every customer the choice to watch what they want to watch.
“Our new arrangement with Sky News and Foxtel means our customers will be able to watch more recent news bulletins straight to their own devices while in the air.”
Mr Strambi said the refurbishment also improves the economics of the aircraft by being smarter about the way space is used on the aircraft.
“We will add an additional six seats at the rear of the aircraft, which is made possible by changes to the galley and lavatory space. Importantly, there will be no change to the amount of seating space each customer has. This change represents a three per cent increase to the capacity of Qantas’ B737 fleet,” he said.
Qantas has 67 Boeing 737-800s in its domestic fleet, and will receive four new aircraft by December. Earlier this year the last of the older Qantas Boeing 737-400 was retired. The average age of Qantas’ Boeing 737-800’s is 6.7 years.
The installation of QStreaming on the B737s is part of a broader overhaul of Qantas’ in-flight entertainment offering, including 100 more hours of content per month, and the introduction of Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports for inflight news and additional programming.