As part of its drive to reduce turnaround times on its domestic services, Qantas has introduced dual door boarding at a number of airports. The process involves using the rear door of the 737 to allow passengers toward the rear of the cabin to board and disembark the aircraft. Passengers in the rear half of the aircraft will use stairs rather than the forward door (whether stairs of aerobridge)
The process of boarding and disembarking from the front and the rear of the aircraft helps save time, and allows Qantas a better chance of making sure the schedule is maintained as it allows us to prepare the aircraft more efficiently for the next flight.
Overall Qantas has an aim of reducing its turnaround time at airports, At a recent investor presentation, It was stated that the aim was to reduce the amount of time a 737 spends on the ground between flights from 40 minutes to 35 minutes over the next year.
At present, the use of dual door boarding appears to be happening as follows:
- Adelaide (ADL) – Gates 21 and 22,
- Brisbane (BNE) – Gates 21 and 25,
- Sydney (SYD) – Gates 8 and 12,
- Melbourne (MEL) – Gate 11.
In comparison, the local competitors Virgin Australia, Tigerair Australia and Qantas’s own low-cost unit Jetstar currently schedule 30-minute turns for most of their domestic flights and use dual-door boarding.
Qantas says that the use of the rear stairs won’t be used in wet weather conditions, and that customers with specific needs will still be able to use the front door to access the aircraft.
The use of the rear stairs has been appreciated by some customers – “We’ve conducted customer surveys where dual door operations have taken place and have found that customers really appreciate the ease and speed it provides.”