Qantas is following through on its promise to return part of its Airbus A380 fleet to the skies by mid-2022, with the superjumbo already back on the schedule for its Sydney-Los Angeles routes from 1 July next year.
While the airline had previously suggested its A380 fleet would remain in storage until 2023, Qantas announced amid its financial results last month that it would bring five jets back into service “ahead of schedule” in mid-2022.
The airline said it will use the five A380s to fly between Sydney and LA from July 2022, and between Sydney and London, via Singapore, from November 2022.
Now, as reported by Executive Traveller, Qantas has committed to this pledge and introduced its A380s back onto the flight schedule for its Sydney to LAX return service as QF11 and QF12 from 1 July.
It will be the first time a Qantas A380 has carried passengers since the entire fleet was placed into storage in July 2020.
From 1 July, the four-engined jet will perform the QF11 and QF12 services six days per week, while the smaller Boeing 787 Dreamliner will cover the route on Wednesdays.
In total, Qantas expects 10 of its 12 A380s to be back to performing regularly scheduled services by early 2024, while the remaining two are to be retired.
It marks the beginning of the end of Qantas’ iconic A380 fleet, following the decided end of the Airbus A380 program, as Airbus nears delivery of its last-ever A380 to Emirates.
All 10 returning A380s will have their interiors refurbished prior to their return to service.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has repeatedly suggested that the Qantas model makes it one of the few airlines internationally that can successfully sustain the Airbus A380 in the post-COVID world.
Speaking with CNN, Joyce said that “pent up demand” in Australia for overseas travel, along with limited available slots of London Heathrow and LAX, means that Qantas can reasonably fill its A380s and make the venture profitable.
“When we looked at the research… The desire to travel once the borders open up and it’s safe to do is massive. It’s three times the levels it normally is in Australia,” Joyce said.
“There’s a lot of pent up demand to visit friends or relatives, to take that holiday.”
Joyce said that the A380 is the “perfect vehicle” to address Australia’s imminent surge in demand for international travel.
“When we look at Australia, we have limited slots at Heathrow, and the A380 helps us meet demand at Heathrow due to its size. And the same to LA,” he explained.
“There’s a scheduling window, all of our flights leave LA between 10:00 and midnight because of the curfew in Sydney… So you can’t really add frequency, so you might as well have a big aircraft that works.”
In light of the news that Qantas will retire two of its iconic A380s, Australian Aviation looked back on the history of the airline’s A380 fleet, and gives readers the chance to guess which superjumbos are destined to be grounded for life.