Qantas has purchased twenty Airbus A380 aircraft. How will this improve service to the United States and what can we look forward to with this new aircraft?
We will begin flying the A380 in Autumn 2008 and will be the first to fly it between the United States and Australia. It will truly revolutionize air travel and our customer service experience. Passengers will see significant improvements in all of our classes, including economy. In addition, Qantas has just launched new flagship lounges in Sydney and Melbourne with a new Los Angeles lounge opening in September.
Qantas will not fly the A380 with the full 800 seats that it is capable of housing, ours will have around 500 seats which will offer us the opportunity to add some innovations in all classes.
Lastly, the Qantas A380 will be an environmental leader. It will fly quieter than the largest airliners today. In addition to a very quiet Auxiliary Power Unit, the aircraft can land with two thrust reversers and is able to taxi with just two engines. The Airbus A380 will improve engine emissions and fuel consumption and its sheer size means fewer take offs and landings, which is a prospect that has been embraced by LAX and the surrounding communities.
GT: The Skybed was introduced several years ago. How has it been received by your premium flyers?
WM: The award-winning Skybed, designed by Marc Newsom who is also heading up our cabin designs on the A380, continues to receive rave reviews from Qantas passengers who enjoy its comfort and privacy. Qantas is preferred on long-haul flights more than ther carriers because it offers business-class passengers comfort whether awake or asleep with the Skybed. It also has received the Chicago Athenaeum Museum Good Design Award.
GT: Tell us about your San Francisco service and the recent increase in flights.
WM: Honestly, we were a little nervous about the San Francisco flights, but within 12 months we increased our service from SFO to Sydney from three to five flights a week and it has been a great success. We have experienced an overwhelming demand for travel and we intend to increase the route further. We now are capturing 50 percent of our east coast connecting passengers traveling through San Francisco to avoid other airports.
GT: You’re a Qantas veteran. Please fill in our readers about your career at Qantas and in the industry.
WM: I have been in the airline industry for over four decades, during which time I have held various senior management and marketing positions. I joined Qantas as the result of a merger with Australian Airlines in 1993. Prior to my current appointment, I served as the company’s senior executive in Los Angeles overseeing and managing Qantas operations in North America, further enabling myself to facilitate the carrier’s success in this critical market. I was appointed to my current position in 1999. I was originally based at the corporate office in Sydney, but relocated to the Los Angeles office in 2001. As senior executive vice president, I am responsible for all aspects of Qantas Airways operations for the United States, Canada, South America, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
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