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Confirmed: Qantas A380 to be retired from 2032 onwards

written by Adam Thorn | August 24, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Qantas A380 VH-OQL on its return to Melbourne

Qantas’ fleet of 10 remaining Airbus A380s will begin to be retired from the 2032 financial year onwards, chief executive Alan Joyce has revealed.

It comes after the Flying Kangaroo on Thursday confirmed a huge order for 12 new 787 Dreamliners and 12 Airbus A350s to replace the bulk of its ageing widebody fleet.

However, Joyce said the Super Jumbo still “has a lot of life left in them” given their recent cabin upgrades.

“But as part of the pipeline we’re building, I can announce they will be replaced by the Airbus A350 from about FY32 onwards,” he said.

“We have negotiated options and purchase rights with both Airbus and Boeing for more 787s and A350s, which we can draw down on as needed for replacement and growth over the next decade and beyond.


“New aircraft are also a key part of cutting our emissions and reaching our sustainability targets.

“They burn significantly less fuel, especially when moving from a four engine A380 to a twin engine A350.”

Qantas grounded its entire fleet of 12 A380s during the pandemic, with most sent to the notorious Southern California Logistics Airport, better known as Victorville.

The business has been slowly returning them to commercial flying, with two permanently decommissioned.

Many commentators initially thought the giant aircraft would suffer the same fate as its Boeing 747s, which were dispensed with in 2020.

However, reduced international capacity post-pandemic has seen the aircraft’s economies of scale give Airbus a new lease of life for the Flying Kangaroo.

Qantas now has eight A380s back flying commercially: VH-OQB, VH-OQD, VH-OQH, VH-OQK, VH-OQJ, VH-OQG, VH-OQL and VH-OQI.

Of the rest, VH-OQC and VH-OQA are currently in Abu Dhabi, receiving a cabin upgrade.

Qantas’ monster deal for new aircraft, announced on Thursday, was hailed by Joyce as a “generational decision” and said the new fleets would be operating for 20 years.

The purchase is significantly in addition to the previously announced Project Winton and Sunrise orders. It will consist of four Boeing 787-9 and eight 787-10 aircraft, alongside 12 traditional A350-1000s.

The older set of aircraft orders included nine more A321s that Qantas will then convert into freighters; 12 specially adapted Airbus A350-1000 jets to launch Project Sunrise; and 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 29 A220-300s to fly its domestic routes.

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