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Qantas A380s stored in desert boneyard ready for return

written by Adam Thorn | March 14, 2022

A file image of Qantas Airbus A380 VH-OQK. (Wikimedia Commons/N509FZ)

Australia will soon see the return of more Qantas A380s stored at the Victorville “boneyard”.

Three superjumbos – VH-OQC, VH-OQH and VH-OQK – have now left the Californian desert and have received, or are in the process of receiving, cabin upgrades.

The move means the Flying Kangaroo will be able to restore its full first-class service at the end of this month and will imminently have five available A380s in its “thawed out” fleet.

So far, three aircraft – VH-OQB, VH-OQD and VH-OQK – have returned to commercial service in Australia, but the first two of those were stored in a purpose-built hangar at LAX rather than the US facility.

Qantas said in a statement on Monday evening that the refurbished aircraft would feature a “reconfigured business class cabin, with 70 updated business suites, and an extended premium economy section with 60 seats, up from 35, as well as refreshed economy and First cabins”.

The iconic upper deck lounge will also now include booth-style seating for 10 people, a self-service bar and the ability to order “signature drinks and snacks”.

Then, from 27 March, Qantas will reopen its Sydney and Melbourne International Business Lounges and revert its first-class lounges to servicing only first-class passengers, after previously operating as a hybrid for business travellers during COVID.

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“Eligible First Lounge customers will again enjoy a Neil Perry curated à la carte dining menu, champagnes and fine Australian wines, as well as a seasonal cocktail selection,” said Qantas in a statement.

“The Spa will also reopen offering bespoke pre-travel treatments such as hot stone massages and mini facials using LaGaia products.

“The First cabin on the 485-seat A380 is popular with Frequent Flyers for its comfortable suites with fully lay flat beds, premium Neil Perry multi-course dining experience, award winning Australian wine cellar and Martin Grant designed PJs.

“Qantas will also reopen its First Check-in suite at Sydney International for First customers and top tier Frequent Flyers to enjoy a personalised and streamlined check-in.”

Earlier on Monday, Australian Aviation reported how Qantas passengers flying to London would soon have the option to layover in Singapore from 19 June using its refurbished A380s.

From the same day, the Flying Kangaroo will also reactivate its flights to the British capital via Perth.

Qantas halted all commercial international flights in late March 2020, and only resumed a limited service to London, via Darwin, when borders opened to citizens and residents in November last year.

A staggered reopening of Australia saw backpackers and migrants allowed to travel, before a full reopening to all double vaccinated visa holders commenced in February.

The reactivation of the Singapore route to London is also expected to see the reopening of Qantas’ “Singapore First” lounge.

Last month, Qantas also revealed it would resume flights to six more overseas destinations, as Australia’s international border restrictions finally fall, including a number of additional services from Brisbane.

From 16 February, the airline returned to Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth route as QF7, along with the return leg QF8, both operated by its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Then from 27 March, Qantas will reinstate its Brisbane-Singapore, Sydney-Manila and Sydney-Jakarta routes, and the following day resume Sydney-Denpasar (Bali) flights – as previously suggested.

Qantas is also gearing up to restart daily flights connecting Brisbane and Los Angeles on its Airbus A330 aircraft from 1 April.

Comments (2)

  • Craigy

    says:

    I think you need to update your story Adam with current information. OQK returned to Australia on 3 March from Abu Dhabi and has been seen operating the SYD-LAX (currently enroute to LAX) service plus some local training flights. OQH flew from Victorville on 3 Mar to LAX and is currently enroute to Abu Dhabi to join OQC which has been there since 21 June 2021.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      You’re completely correct! I made a bit of a hash of that, didn’t I? I am updating the story now. Thanks for your eagle eyes on this…

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