Qantas has delivered its fourth Airbus A380 to an aircraft storage facility in the Mojave as part of its plan to mothball its superjumbo fleet until demand returns. The aircraft took off from Melbourne and landed in a boneyard in the USA early this morning.
Where is the A380 flying?
The Qantas A380, tail number VH-OQH, took off from Melbourne (MEL) to Victorville (VCV). It is the fourth Qantas A380 to fly to this boneyard for long term storage.
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Qantas has another eight Airbus A380s (for a total of 12), currently displaced around the world.
- Four are now in California
- Two are in Dresden Germany
- One is in Abu Dhabi
- And the remaining A380s are spread around Australia
As for the reason why the A380 is flying to America…
What is the Qantas plan?
Qantas is a large international airline that, until recently, had a vast range of aircraft from the humble Boeing 737 to classic Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380, as mentioned above. However, when the aviation crisis struck, the carrier decided that it would need to hunker down for the foreseeable future.
The plan is to become a smaller airline and focus mainly on Australian domestic travel (and potentially flights to New Zealand, although these plans are on the back burner for now).
To become smaller, the airline has put a plan in motion to mothball 100 aircraft across its fleet. This number is significant, considering that the airline only has 133 aircraft.
“We have to position ourselves for several years where revenue will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce in a statement last month.
The majority of aircraft (short-haul Boeing 737s) will remain in Australia, but the bigger aircraft will be moved to California, although for different reasons.
What is the future of big aircraft at Qantas?
The Boeing 747s are fully retried and phased out by the airline (with the last Qantas 747 flying off on June 22nd).
As for the A380s, they are not being retired but only stored for three years.
“The aircraft is being put into the Mojave Desert, where the environment protects the aircraft (because) we have the intention at the right time to restart them, but that is a considerable amount of time away,” said Alan Joyce speaking to Executive Traveler
Qantas had recently started to upgrade the A380s with the new Dreamliner business class back in October last year. Only a few of the A380s completed the upgrade before the current aviation crisis struck. Whether or not Qantas will complete the updates during this intermission (or simply retire the aircraft that lack the upgrades) remains to be seen.
While it is sad to see a majestic aircraft go into deep storage in the empty desert, at least the A380s have not suffered the same fate as the Boeing 747. The Qantas A380 is a fantastic aircraft to fly on, and a real breadwinner for the airline (its Sydney to Dallas, Texas route is especially lucrative). Three years can’t fly by fast enough.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.