Australian flag carrier Qantas began operations for the upgraded version of its Airbus A380 on Tuesday. 

The aircraft is one of 12 Airbus superjumbo planes to have received a major facelift. Two additional A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019, with each plane to take approximately eight weeks to upgrade. 

“The A380 is a crucial part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program will see customers enjoy everything the aircraft has to offer for years to come,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. 

The first upgraded A380 departed from London to Sydney via Singapore and is expected to arrive in Australia on Wednesday. 

Following the upgrade, the aircraft now has a total capacity of 485 passengers, an increase of one seat.  

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The revamped aircraft is said to feature upgraded seats in its Business and Premium Economy cabins, changes to its First Class and Economy seating and a larger on-board lounge.

The airline’s Skybeds 2-2-2 layout has been replaced with the Business Suite 1-2-1 seat configuration, providing aisle access to all passengers. 

Joyce said the changes to Business and Premium Economy seating aimed to cater to passengers on long-haul flights. 

As for the Economy cabin, it now comes with a new color palette and improved inflight entertainment. 

“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s,” Joyce said. (jes/kes)