Qantas is about to send 18,000 staff, from the chief executive down, back to school as part of a massive push to boost customer service standards.

A high-tech $6.6 million training facility, which opened Tuesday in Sydney, is at the center of the strategy to propel the Qantas brand back to the top.

The move comes after a horror year for the airline where delays and maintenance problems battered its reputation with travellers, The Australian reports.

Up to a third of its planes ran late and cancellations sky-rocketed as a result of an industrial row with engineers.It also comes as full-service airlines, which face a downturn in premium passengers because of the economic crisis, are being forced to compete more fiercely to fill business and first class seats.

The new Centre of Service Excellence brings all Qantas customer service training under one roof and covers areas ranging from makeup and grooming to telesales, check-in procedures and wine appreciation.

Facilities include a 126-seat auditorium, four cabin-crew training pods that simulate aircraft environments and a hi-tech area where staff can send suggestions to management using interactive screens.

It also features "customer experience zones," demonstrating the environments that passengers in various classes, and on various arms of Qantas, experience in the course of their journey.

Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti, who will be the first top executive to undergo training, said one of the main changes Qantas passengers could expect as a result of the new center was more consistency in the airline's customer service.

Click here to read more on this story from News.com.au.