Australian Aviation’s Andrew Campbell has shot the best images yet of Qantas A380s being stored at the Victorville boneyard in California.
One photo, above, shows up-close VH-OQI, named David Warren, fully sealed up. It’s expected to receive a revamped interior before it returns to service.
It’s parked next to the 11-year-old VH-OQL, Phyllis Arnott, which is thought to have arrived at Victorville in July 2020.
Campbell also shot partially dismantled VH-OQF, currently without engines, below.
Qantas had a fleet of 12 active A380s pre-COVID, with ten being maintained and two being decommissioned from the airline.
VH-OQB, VH-OQD, VH-OQH, VH-OQK are back in operation, while VH-OQJ flew from LAX to Sydney on 29 August.
Australian Aviation reported earlier this year how VH-OQF was being scrapped for spare parts, which themselves will be stored across Qantas’s dedicated A380 facilities at LAX and Sydney Airport.
VH-OQF, named after famous early Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, was delivered to Qantas on 8 January 2010, and became the sixth A380 to enter into the fleet. It performed its first passenger service from Sydney–Los Angeles as QF11 on 17 January 2010.
Notably, in March 2018, VH-OQF became the first Qantas A380 to sport the airline’s new ‘Silver Roo’ livery, after being repainted at the Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre in Dubai.
In July 2020, Charles Kingsford Smith was ferried directly to Victorville, and has remained there since.
VH-OQE is expected to be the second and final A380 to be retired, suggesting the airline’s oldest and most notorious jet, VH-OQA, could be retained by Qantas.
In a poll collected by Australian Aviation last year, which gave readers the chance to guess which Qantas superjumbos are likely destined to be grounded for life, a vast majority of readers voted that VH-OQA was most likely to be retired early.
In fact, more than half of all votes cast in the poll across all 12 aircraft went to VH-OQA, with readers believing Nancy-Bird Walton could enjoy an early retirement, perhaps at the HARS Aviation Museum, or Qantas Founders Museum.
Qantas said the refurbished A380s, meanwhile, will 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”.
The Flying Kangaroo had initially intended to keep its 12 A380s mothballed in the California desert until late 2023. However, in light of Australia’s fast-paced vaccination rollout, the airline later announced it would bring five of the 12 back by mid-2022.