Qantas planning to send its entire fleet of A380 jets back into service

Apr 14, 2021

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In a surprising move that runs counter to current industry trends, Qantas said on Wednesday it expects to have all 12 of its A380 superjumbo jets flying high again, but likely not before 2024.

That’s when most aviation observers expect international travel to return to its pre-pandemic levels.

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Qantas CEO Alan Joyce made the remarks during the CAPA Live aviation summit, which was held virtually this year.

“We think we will reactivate all of the A380s,” Joyce said.

The airline had already refurbished some of the wide-body jets in its fleet and modernized the interior cabins with a 1-2-1 layout in business class that offers aisle access for each seat. So, it was expected that as many as six A380s would resume service — those that had been updated.

Of course, exactly when the planes will take off again will depend on how quickly demand for long-haul international travel returns.

“Now if demand comes back earlier, we can reactivate the A380s within three to six months,” Joyce added, suggesting that Qantas could resume some routes that use A380s sooner than 2024 if factors such as the vaccination rollout continue progressing.

For now, the dozen Qantas wide-bodies remain in storage inside a huge hangar in California’s Mojave Desert, being carefully maintained so they are ready when they are called back into duty.

Related: Flying Qantas first class on the A380 from Melbourne to LA

Until the A380 returns, the Boeing 787 will serve as Qantas’ flagship plane. The large number of premium seats – 42 seats in business class and 28 in premium economy — provide a substantial boost to the airline’s financial bottom line.

Qantas now plans to restart international travel to cities such as London and Los Angeles by 31 October. It had previously intended to resume such travel in July, but pushback from the Australian government led the airline to push back its plans. When those flights do take off again, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will take over for the A380 on the so-called “kangaroo route” from Sydney to London via Singapore, which would run alongside the Perth to London nonstop Boeing 787 service.

Featured photo courtesy of Qantas.Qantas Planning to Send Its Entire Fleet of A380 Jets Back Into Service

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