Like Dontella Versace checking in for more age defying plumping, Qantas’ ageing Boeing 767-300ERs are to be given another facelift.
Commencing in October, Qantas will retire another seven of its ageing 23 Boeing 767-300ERs, and the remaining 16 aircraft will undergo a major interior refurbishment. The programme is also step in the right direction for Qantas to return to its roots as an hip, innovative product leader.
Marc Newson has been brought into design contemporary interiors. Business class will feature charcoal leather seats with retro chic 70’s wood panelling, and aubergine is Newson’s colour du jour in Economy. The aircraft will also be given new carpets, lighting, curtains and dividers.
Each refurbished 767 will feature Qantas’ “groundbreaking WiFi entertainment” Q Streaming. And iPads will be provided to all passengers, in Business and Economy. The system provides passengers with 200 hours of on-demand IFE, and passengers will be able to connect with their own portable devices.
Q Streaming is delivered by five WiFi terminals fitted in ceiling on the right hand side of the cabin. Passengers connect to the terminal closest to your seat row, and streaming content is provided from the aircraft’s own content server located in the avionics bay beneath the cockpit. The server is essentially a mini computer with a pair of 500GB solid state drives, each of HD contains all the in-flight programming so the system has redundancy and will continue to work if one drive fails.
Qantas Domestic will also receive 3 new aircraft, 2 Boeing 737-800s and 1 A330-200, before year end.
Refurbishment will not make the B767s any cheaper to operate, nor will they become more fuel-efficient. Original plans envisaged Qantas B767s retired by 2010, replaced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 2008. However, Boeing and Qantas’ combined delays, mean the 787 will be 6 years late by the time it enters Qantas service in 2014.
Updated plans replaced the 767s 1-to-1 by Jetstar’s 11 A330-200s returned as the carrier receives the Group’s first 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners from mid-2013. However, returning all the A330s does not provide Jetstar much capacity to grow.
Either way, the 767s are likely to be around for a lot longer yet. While the retro, tech savvy refresh will go a long way, it doesn’t remove the fact that the 767s are so old you can almost hear the floor creak as you step into the cabin. Let’s hope people aren’t falling through the floor before the time they ret…well, if they ever retire.
The full Qantas statement can be found here, and Qantas’ Q Streaming trial FAQ booklet can be found here.