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Qantas completes fourth A330 reconfiguration

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 23, 2015

Qantas A330-300 VH-QPC in the new colours. (Michael Dawson)
An August 2014 image of VH-QPC. (Michael Dawson)

Qantas has its fourth reconfigured Airbus A330 fitted with new business class seats in service, enabling the Flying Kangaroo to thicken its schedule to Asia with aircraft that feature its latest on-board product.

The fourth aircraft, A330-300 VH-QPC, emerged from the Qantas maintenance facility in Brisbane on Sunday, when it went for a two hour and 44 minute test flight, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. The aircraft had been in the maintenance hangar since January 17.

On Monday, VH-QPC resumed revenue service as QF503 from Brisbane to Sydney, and then headed to Singapore as QF81.

The A330-300 joins sistership VH-QPA as the first two of Qantas’s internationally configured A330s for use primarily on Asian routes and to Honolulu.

Flight records show Qantas has used VH-QPA on selected Sydney-Singapore, Brisbane-Singapore and Melbourne-Singapore routes since the first flight on January 17. There have also been two Sydney-Manila-Sydney rotations.


And on Tuesday, VH-QPA was scheduled to operate the QF29/30 Melbourne-Hong Kong-Melbourne rotation, believed to be the first time a reconfigured A330 will be used to Hong Kong.

On the domestic front, Qantas currently has two reconfigured A330-200s – VH-EBV and VH-EBA – flying primarily between Perth and Australia’s east coast capitals, as well as selected flights on the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne triangle.

In January, Qantas flagged having five reconfigured A330s – three domestic, two international – by the end of March and 11 in total by August.

“We are pushing a lot of aircraft out very fast,” Qantas head of creative development and customer experience Kylie Morris told reporters at Sydney Airport on January 16.

“We are doing the reconfiguration in 30 days which is pretty damn fast.

“By end of March we will have five aircraft.”

Qantas planned to have the entire fleet of 28 A330s fitted with the new Thomson Aero-designed business seat and Recaro-manufactured economy class seat by the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia was planning to start the refit program for its fleet of six A330-200s by mid-year, with the program due to be completed by August.

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Comments (11)

  • Kim Harrold


    As QF have re-commenced flights from BNE to NRT from the end of the year is anyone aware if the A330.s to be used on this flight will be fitted with the new Business Class seating

  • Christopher Campbell


    No BNT-NRT won’t have the new A330 configuration straight away but they will be among the first to gradually transition to it though. They will have 4 A33-300 with new configuration by August

  • Kim Harrold


    Thanks Chris, do you know what Business Class configuration the A330’s will have on this route in December ’15

  • Dave


    Flew back to PER from MEL last week on EBV, even the new economy product looks great. Seats are comfortable and the IFE is pretty good.

    However I flew over to MEL on a A330 old style, even without any seat-back entertainment. Its frustrating when you’re willing to pay more for a good product but dont get it. I guess its hard for QF though, they want to advertise their new product but its only on 4 aircraft. Would be great if you knew what you were paying for beforehand, even so you knew to take a good book with you instead!

  • Raymond


    Yeah, what’s wrong with a good book anyway?!

    I find it quite ironic and contradictory that many of us hanker for the ‘good old days’ when ‘life was simple’, yet we always want the latest and greatest and bemoan this when it doesn’t happen! It’s one or the other methinks, folks!

  • Andy


    I flew on the first SIN-MEL service with the newly refurbished cabin. The IFE update is fantastic! The economy cabin feels a little more cramped than it used to though, and the seats recline just a little bit too far… the person in front almost ends up in your lap with their seat all the way back! Don’t remember the old seats being like that?

  • Christopher Campbell


    Since Qantas will have 7 international A330-300s by the end of 2015, at most probably 6 by early December I would suggest you would have a 50% chance of being in the new configuration since the first routes that will be getting it will probably be (including the current routes)


    and possible SIN-HKG if and when they switch that from 747 to A330 this year.

  • Scott


    Have to disagree with Dave to some extent, while the new economy seats are good, the new iPad based IFE is horrid and lacks the content of the old Panasonic IFE.
    I like Dave did Per-Mel-Per last week, had EBA Per-Mel and EBM Mel-Per, much preferred EBM due to the IFE and a pleasant crew.

  • William


    It would be near on impossible to sell you a ticket based on an exact aircraft and the product on board it. There’s too many variables to factor in and Qantas probably wouldn’t like to refund money based the fact you didn’t get the IFE or seat type you wanted.

  • Doug


    Will Qantas ever put the new business class onto the A380 or 747 because this would provide great fleet commonality

  • Dyland


    Doug – Qantas is saying no. I suspect that is their current policy (ie they’re not being strategic – otherwise why would they announce the A330 refurb so far in advance, but not this). However, it is a pretty dumb move. If this were Cathay or Singapore (I ignore gulf carriers as they have too much money and will clearly update their seats monthly!) – they would definitely continue the roll-out. Just think how tired the A380 cabins (in particular) will be once the A330 rollout is complete. Especially with the improved financial outlook for airlines this call – if it stands – is truly a dumb move.

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