Qantas has started flying the first of it revamped Airbus A380s which has fewer economy seats and a 27 per cent increase in premium seating.

The airline is refurbishing its 12 superjumbos as part of a move towards seating more higher yielding premium passengers.

Qantas says the ''multimillion-dollar'' upgrade includes new seating across expanded business and premium economy cabins and a refresh of the aircraft's first class and economy seating.

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The on-board lounge has also been redesigned to more of a cafe setting, moving away from the bench-style seating along the walls. Capacity in the lounge at the front of the plane has been doubled to 10 passengers.

The premium lounge aboard a refurbished Qantas A380 has double the capcitiy. Photo / Supplied
The premium lounge aboard a refurbished Qantas A380 has double the capcitiy. Photo / Supplied

The entire top deck of the plane will be dedicated to premium seating - business and premium economy.

Business seats are the same as those on the airline's Dreamliners, replacing the previous Skybeds that were in a 2-2-2 configuration. The new seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.

The business class seats are like those on Qantas Dreamliners. Photo / Supplied
The business class seats are like those on Qantas Dreamliners. Photo / Supplied

The premium economy seats are also the same as those fitted to the airline's Dreamliners.

The first reconfigured aircraft will fly as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia tomorrow.

Revamping the aircraft will give new life to the A380 fleet, now averaging about 10 years old.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the mid-life upgrade of the A380 would ensure its status as one of the most popular aircraft with customers.

"The A380 is a crucial part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program will see customers enjoy everything the aircraft has to offer for years to come," said Joyce.

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He said it provided an increase in business and premium economy seating to help match the demand the airline was seeing on long-haul routes.

Other airlines and travel agents are also reporting increased demand for the front - or top - of the plane, especially on longhaul routes. Air New Zealand's revamped cabins will have a higher proportion of premium seats.

Qantas operates its A380s to Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Dallas.

The airline had been working with Airbus, we've been able to use the cabin space more efficiently.

Stairs aboard the refurbished Qantas A380. Photo / Supplied
Stairs aboard the refurbished Qantas A380. Photo / Supplied

This would improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience for passengers, said Joyce.

Despite the shift to more premium space, the refurbished planes will have one more seat for a total of 485 passengers.

A further two A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019.

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Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade at aircraft interiors' specialist EFW in Germany.

"By the end of this upgrade, we'll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s," said Joyce.