Qantas’ Airbus A380 Will Return To Australia Over A Month Early

Qantas appears to be expecting an early arrival of the Airbus A380 back in Australia. While the airline had been anticipating its first giant to arrive home on December 25th, it seems that the first giant of the skies to return will now fly home next week.

Qantas, Airbus A380, Return
The Qantas Airbus A380 could be back in Australia sooner than anticipated. Photo: Getty Images

The giant Airbus A380 is the flagship of the Qantas fleet. However, while the country has been locked down with arriving passenger numbers strictly capped, it made no sense for the airline to use the jets. After all, they would’ve flown near empty. Now that the country is reopening, it’s time to awaken the jet up from its slumber and return it.

VH-OQB Is Inbound

According to Australian Aviation, VH-OQB will be the first aircraft to return to Australia, with its return voyage now planned for next week. While most of the fleet is soaking up the rays in the California desert, VH-OQB was ferried to Dresden in Germany earlier this year to undergo maintenance.

According to, VH-OQB was the 15th A380 to be built by Airbus. The jet first flew on June 25th, 2008, before being delivered on December 15th that same year. To date, the aircraft has racked up 50,345 hours (5.74 years) of flight across 4,445 flight cycles.

Qantas, Airbus A380 Pilots, Bus Drivers
Upon returning to Sydney, the Airbus A380 will go into maintenance. Photo: Getty Images

On average, the plane has been used for ten hours and 40 minutes each day, while its average flight length is 11 hours and 20 minutes. The aircraft’s current market value is listed as $30.94 million.

When will the jet return to passenger service?

According to an internal memo seen by Australian Aviation, the aircraft will be taken to a maintenance hangar once it arrives back in Sydney. The jet will spend several weeks being inspected by Qanats Engineers after so long out of the airline’s care.

The memo went on to add,

“We’re expecting the aircraft to be available for ground and crew refresher training from mid-December and will have a cabin refurbishment before its return to service.”

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According to the Australian publication The Age, The airline is planning a slightly expedited return to service with the jet. It is still expected to begin Los Angeles flights in April 2022. However, the airline is now also expecting to send the giant of the skies on the kangaroo route to London in April. This had previously been planned for November.

Qantas, Airbus A380, Return
It seems that two A380s are now unlikely to leave storage. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

By the end of 2022, Qantas hopes to have six of its 12 Airbus A380s back in Australia, up from five expected previously. However, it’s not all good news. The airline has decided that it doesn’t quite need 12 A380s moving forward. Two have been deemed surplus to requirements and won’t return to the skies. Which two this includes remains to be seen, though Australian Aviation suggests VH-OQA and VH-OQH or VH-OQF.

Are you excited to see the A380’s return nudged forwards? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!