Qantas Puts Beds in Business Class

SYDNEY, 20 May 2002

Qantas today announced that it would invest $300 million to relaunch its International Business Class, featuring new seats that convert to beds.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon said the new Qantas International Business Class would offer the highest level of comfort and service, with custom-built seats that set a new standard in aircraft seat design.

"We believe our new seats will be the best all-round Business Class seats in the sky," Mr Dixon said.

"The Business Class cabin configuration will have 15 fewer seats than are currently on board, giving customers more space."

Features of the new Qantas Business Class seat include:

* 6'6" length and 25" width when fully reclined; * A fixed cocoon-style seat surround to provide maximum privacy and provide a barrier to cabin noise;* Extensive adjustment control to ensure maximum comfort in any position for all customers regardless of their height;* Storage options for reading materials and other possessions, including a shoe cupboard and glove box for spectacles and travel documents; * A PC power outlet that allows laptops to be plugged straight in without the need for adaptor cables;* A large 10.4" screen offering multi-channel entertainment;* A back massage feature; and* High-quality noise cancellation headsets. Mr Dixon said Qantas had developed the design in partnership with one of the world's leading industrial designers, London-based Australian Marc Newson, and US manufacturer BE Aerospace.

"The design process followed extensive research involving our business customers who told us they wanted a seat that converted into a bed for sleeping but which also offered the maximum level of comfort as an armchair, dining chair and work chair. They also wanted privacy, flexibility and personal space.

"We believe our new seats will exceed our customers' expectations, with regard to both the seat and the innovative way we are using the surrounding space," Mr Dixon said.

"Marc Newson's seat designs for the home have achieved icon status in design and architecture circles. We believe the Qantas Business Class seat, which not only looks fantastic but sets new standards for comfort and ease of use, will achieve the same fame." Mr Dixon said the re-designed Qantas International Business Class would also include:

* a lighting system designed exclusively for Qantas; * artworks on display at the front of the cabin;

* a self-service bar area;

* new-style catering to provide more choice and flexibility; and

* a range of improvements on the ground such as more secluded premium check-in areas offering more personal service.

Installation of the new Business Class seats will start within the next 12 months and be introduced initially on the airline's London and Hong Kong routes in the first half of 2003.

This latest investment follows a range of international product and service enhancements including:

* This month's opening of a new flagship Qantas Club at the Sydney International Terminal with facilities for up to 500 Business Class and 150 First Class customers - the largest departure lounge in the Southern Hemisphere;

* New international lounges in Melbourne and Honolulu, and for First Class customers in Singapore;

* Plans for new First and Business Class lounges in Bangkok and a new Singapore Business Class lounge;

* Installation of a $300 million in-flight entertainment system in the airline's Boeing 747-400 aircraft featuring individual seat back videos in Economy Class, larger touch screens and PC Power in First and Business Class and in seat telephones in all classes - due for completion early next year;

* Re-designed 747-400 cabin interiors with new seat fabrics, curtains, carpet, pure woollen blankets, pillows and in First Class, doonas; and

* Six new Boeing 747-400 Extended Range aircraft to be delivered from November 2002.

"We are committed to continually looking at ways to improve our product to ensure our customers have the best possible experience when flying Qantas," Mr Dixon

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (2704)