Qantas is planning to bring five of its Airbus A380s out of deep storage and back into service from the middle of next year. The airline has also committed to bringing back a further five A380s by around 2024, meaning only two of the airline’s fleet of 12 super-jumbos face early retirement.
The first two Airbus A380s to return to Qantas’ active fleet will be used on the Sydney-Los Angeles route. At this stage, Qantas expects that demand on this route will be sufficient to operate daily A380 flights from around July 2022.
A further three A380s are expected to be used on the Sydney-Singapore-London route from November 2022.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce described Los Angeles, Singapore and London as “key markets for Qantas before COVID” and said that “given how well they have recovered, we expect travel demand on these routes to be strong enough for the A380”.
“We have the flexibility to bring back the other five A380s by early 2024, depending on how quickly the market recovers,” Joyce said.
“The remaining two will be retired, because they will be surplus to requirements.”
All of the remaining Qantas A380s will have been refurbished with updated cabin interiors before returning to service. The refurbishment program had already started prior to the pandemic. The cabin upgrades include new Business and Premium Economy seats, a new upper deck lounge and updated in-flight entertainment systems.
So far, six out of Qantas’ 10 remaining A380s have been refurbished with new cabin interiors. All A380s were originally due to be refurbished by the end of 2020, but obviously the pandemic got in the way and the program had been paused. All of Qantas’ A380s have been in long-term storage in California for the past year.
But the refurbishment program will soon resume, demonstrating Qantas’ long-term commitment to returning its A380s to service once sufficient demand for long-haul travel returns.
Last week, a Qantas A380 (registration VH-OQB) flew from Los Angeles to Dresden in Germany. According to German news website TAG24, this aircraft will receive a cabin upgrade during its stay in Dresden from an aircraft conversion company called Elbe Flugzeugwerken.
Australian Frequent Flyer understands that the cabin upgrade on this A380 will take place after routine maintenance is completed, including a landing gear change.
Qantas’ commitment to bringing back most of its A380s is great news for passengers and a positive sign of the airline’s confidence the recovery of international travel.
The Airbus A380 is also the only aircraft in Qantas’ current fleet to feature First Class.
“The A380 is a great aircraft that our passengers love. The 10 aircraft we’re bringing back will have all-new interiors and we expect them to be part of our fleet for many years to come – alongside our Dreamliners, Airbus A330s and ultimately the Airbus A350 for Project Sunrise and non-stop flights to New York and London,” Joyce said.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Two QF A380s to be scrapped
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