The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said the A380 symbolised a new era of travel for Qantas, the world's most experienced airline.
"No other airline has flown as far as Qantas for as long as Qantas, so we know very well the value of a well designed inflight product for long haul flights. The A380, with its extra space, new materials and advanced technology, has given us the ideal platform to reinvent the inflight experience."
Mr Dixon said Qantas had commissioned Europe-based Australian industrial designer, Marc Newson, to create stylish and comfortable interiors for its A380 fleet.
"We have been working with Marc on the A380 design for more than five years, and the result, we believe, is the most innovative, functional and intelligent of any aircraft flying today.
"Marc has designed almost everything onboard, from the seats and fabrics through to the coat hooks, achieving a look of understated luxury through the use of custom designed fabrics, innovative materials and premium finishes."
Mr Dixon said Qantas was the first airline to sign a contract with Airbus for the A380, after selecting the A380 as the cornerstone of its fleet renewal program in the year 2000.
"We said at the time that in addition to giving us the opportunity to reinvent our product, this revolutionary new aircraft offered capacity and operating savings, as well as environmental improvements.
"Everything we have seen since that our initial order has reinforced this view."
Qantas Chief Executive Officer Designate, Mr Alan Joyce, said the selection of the A380 was consistent with Qantas' tradition as a leader in long-haul travel.
"I look forward to continuing that tradition as the next Chief Executive Officer," he said.
"Taking delivery of the first of our A380s is an important occasion for us. It is both a culmination - following years of meticulous design development - and a beginning, with the A380 leading us into a new chapter in the story of Qantas," Mr Joyce said.
The Qantas A380 is configured with 450 seats in four cabins - 14 in First Class, 72 in Business Blass, 32 in the Premium Economy cabin and 332 in Economy Class.
- 14 single private suites in First Class featuring a 17 inch LCD wide screen video monitor, a unique touch screen control unit, and a seat (manufactured by B/E Aerospaces's VIP jet group) that swivels into a comfortable armchair and a fully flat, extra long and wide bed;
- the next generation of Qantas' award-winning sleeper seat Skybed in Business Class, which now offers an extra long and fully flat bed with ergonomically enhanced cushioning, a larger in-arm entertainment screen, additional storage options and more privacy;
- a private lounge area in the upper deck Business Class cabin featuring leather sofas, a self-service bar, large video monitor with laptop connectivity and a feature display cabinet;
- Premium Economy seats by Recaro, with fully adjustable, in-arm, digital wide screen television monitors, and a self service bar dedicated to the upper deck Premium Economy cabin;
- Recaro seats in Economy Class featuring a sliding base that moves with the seat back to create a more comfortable, ergonomically tested position to aid sleep and eliminate pressure points and a foot net to stop sliding during sleep;
- four self-service bars in Economy Class;
- state-of-the-art Panasonic inflight entertainment system with more than 100 on demand movies, 350 television selections, 500 audio CDs, 30 PC style games, and a selection of audio books, language tutorials, destination information, business education and radio channels; and
- in-seat laptop power and connectivity in every class allowing passengers to send and receive emails directly from their personal webmail and hotmail accounts via laptop or seat monitor.
The first Qantas A380, named after Australian pioneer aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton, aged 92, will depart Toulouse at 2355 and operate via Singapore to touch down in Sydney at 0900 on Sunday, 21 September.
Nancy-Bird Walton will attend the official naming ceremony for the aircraft in Sydney on 30 September.
The Qantas A380 will undergo a series of pre-entry into service, training and promotional activities ahead of its first commercial passenger service, operating from Melbourne to Los Angeles on 20 October 2008. The first service from Sydney - also to Los Angeles - will operate on 24 October.
Qantas A380 services between Sydney and London via Singapore will commence in January 2009.
Qantas will take delivery of three A380s by the end of 2008, with eight by the end of 2009 and all 20 by the end of 2013.
Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3819)
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