Qantas’s Tamworth maintenance facility has competed cabin upgrade works on the first of 45 regional aircraft to receive a refresh between now and the end of calendar 2019.
The unveiling of the first aircraft, a de Havilland Dash 8 Q300 VH-SCE “Birdsville“, took place at Tamworth on Tuesday morning.
The aircraft had been at Tamworth since Sunday June 10 having new seat cushions and leather seat covers, as we well as tablet device holders and new floor coverings installed. It has also been painted in the airline’s new livery that was first unveiled in September 2016.
The upgrades also included new technology emergency floor lighting that used photoluminescent lighting to help reduce the overall weight of the aircraft and ongoing maintenance, Qantas said.
Further, a new colour scheme of grey and charcoal would bring the cabin more in line with what is on QantasLink’s regional jets.
The first flight of VH-SCE was the QF2003, which departed Tamworth just before 1130 bound for Sydney.
Qantas said in a statement each of its 45 Q200, Q300 and Q400 aircraft that operate under the QantasLink brand would take a team of 13 engineers and other support staff about 10 days to upgrade. The work has been scheduled around regular maintenance checks.
“Our turboprop aircraft are a significant part of our network and we’re committed to investing in product and service for regional Australia,” QantasLink chief executive John Gissing said in a statement.
“We look forward to welcoming our regional travellers onboard our upgraded turboprop aircraft and offering them a better inflight experience.”
Qantas’s regional fleet is flown under the QantasLink brand by a number of its subsidiaries or on contract.
For the turboprops, Sunstate operates 31 Q400s in Australia under the QantasLink brand.
The 16 50-seat Dash 8-Q300s and three 36-seat Dash 8-Q200 are flown by subsidiary Eastern Australia Airlines both under the QantasLink banner in Australia and for Jetstar in New Zealand.
The Jetstar New Zealand operation comprises five Q300s.
For its regional jet fleet, Qantas’s Perth-based Network Aviation subsidiary operates 17 100-seat Fokker 100s.
And Cobham Aviation Services flies 20 Boeing 717 aircraft on behalf of the airline. The pair signed a 10-year contract extension in 2016. The aircraft have either 110 seats (12 business and 98 economy) or 125 all-economy seats.