Committed To The A380? Qantas Flies Jet 11 Hours To Germany

Qantas brushed the cobwebs off an Airbus A380 and scared away the rattlesnakes with a broom as it flew one of its fleet halfway across the world last night. Its A380 registered VH-OQB departed from Los Angeles International, arriving at Dresden Airport in Germany earlier this morning.

Airbus A380, Grounded, Zero Flights
Last night Qantas flew one of its Airbus A380s to Germany. Photo: Getty Images

Almost a year ago, Simple Flying reported that Qantas was undertaking its last international Airbus A380 flight until 2023, with an aircraft being ferried from Dresden to Victorville for storage. Today Qantas surprised us for the second time this year by transporting another A380 in the opposite direction, with its second Airbus A380 flying to Dresden in Germany.

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Hop across the pond

VH-OQB was the second of twelve Airbus A380s to be delivered to Australian flag carrier Qantas. The jet was delivered to the airline back in December 2008 and has spent the last year soaking up the rays at Los Angeles International Airport. Last night, after a short test flight on Tuesday, the aircraft decided to head east.

According to data from RadarBox.com, VH-OQB took to the skies at 13:54, around 25 minutes after its planned departure time. The aircraft flew 9,467 km (5,883 miles), passing across the Atlantic Ocean en route to Dresden in Germany, where it landed at 09:42 this morning. The total flight time was ten hours and 48 minutes.

Qantas, Airbus A380, Dresden
The flight took just under 11 hours. Photo: RadarBox.com

According to data from ch-aviation.com, VH-OQB is now 13.16 years old, having first flown in June 2008. The plane has completed 50,345 flight hours across 4,445 flight cycles before today’s flight and is currently valued at $32.24 million.

Why fly to Dresden?

You may be left wondering why an Australian airline would fly its largest aircraft from America to Germany. When the pandemic struck, Qantas had been in the process of refurbishing the interior of its 12 double-decker giants. When the decision was made to store the entire fleet, half had received the refurbishment so far. According to data from ch-aviation.com, these aircraft are,

AircraftRefurbished?Location
VH-OQANoVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQBNoDresden (DRS)
VH-OQCNoAbu Dhabi (AUH)
VH-OQDYesLos Angeles (LAX)
VH-OQENoVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQFNoVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQGYesVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQHYesVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQIYesVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQJYesVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQKYesVictorville (VCV)
VH-OQLNoVictorville (VCV)

Qantas had been installing the new aircraft cabins in Dresden, Germany. This is also where the first Airbus A380 to be scrapped by Air France was prepared for its final flight. The airline may have decided to continue its cabin refit program. However, it is also possible that the aircraft has been sent to the airport to undergo other maintenance.

According to the German publication Tag24, the aircraft is indeed in Dresden to be refitted, with the publication reporting,

The aircraft that landed on Friday is now to be modernized at Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). Seats, electronics and other equipment are renewed and brought up to date.

Simple Flying has contacted Qantas for clarification as to why the aircraft was flown to Dresden.

Qantas, Airbus A380, Dresden
Most of the airline’s Airbus A380s remain in long-term storage. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

The Jet is the second to have left California in recent months. In June, another of the airline’s Airbus A380s was sent to Abu Dhabi, likely also for maintenance. The airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, previously revealed that the plan was to return the aircraft to service in 2024 but that it would be possible to reactivate the fleet in three to six months if demand was there.

We can safely assume that the recent flights aren’t likely to indicate the airline is reactivating its fleet of the giants, given that Australia retains strict entry and exit rules related to COVID-19, with many local lockdowns currently in force.

 Why do you think Qantas sent its Airbus A380 to Dresden? Are you happy to see the giant fly again? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.

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