A year ago, in July 2020, Qantas sent its Airbus A380s into hibernation as the pandemic made it clear there was little demand for the giant aircraft. Now, the airline has announced that the A380s will return to the skies – but not yet! The aircraft has now been scheduled to return in July 2022, exactly two years after being sent to hibernation.
Which routes will have an A380?
Initially, Qantas had said the airline would remain grounded until 2023 at the earliest. However, an increase in demand for long-haul flights means the airline’s A380s will return a year early in 2022. According to executivetraveller.com, Qantas has scheduled its first A380 flight for Friday, July 1st, 2022. The aircraft will operate a return flight from Sydney to Los Angeles on routes QF11 and QF12.
Although scheduling may well change and we could see the aircraft return early if demand continues to increase. As more people worldwide get vaccinated, demand is rising, and a surge in demand could lead Qantas to bring back the aircraft sooner. If demand continues as expected, another A380 will return in November 2022 to operate the Sydney to London via Singapore route.
Giving the A380s a refresh
Currently, routes previously operated by the A380 have been taken over by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 and A330-200. The Boeing aircraft are configured with 236 seats, of which 42 are business class and 28 premium economy. When the A380s return, capacity will effectively double as each A380 can carry 485 passengers. The A380s also offer 14 first class suites, 70 business class seats, and 60 premium economy seats.
While in hibernation, the A380s has undergone an interior refresh to bring the cabins up to scratch compared to the newer Dreamliners. Although not all of the airline’s A380s will return – two of the 12 will retire.
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The future of the A380
Despite retiring a few of the type, CEO Alan Joyce confirmed that the aircraft would be “part of our fleet for many years to come, alongside our Dreamliners, our Airbus A330s and, ultimately, the Airbus A350 for the Sunrise project.”
For a while, the future of the A380s was cast in doubt. Many airlines have taken the global pandemic as an opportunity to retire older aircraft. Lower demand has provided a new perspective for airlines to consider their fleet moving forward. As new, more efficient aircraft are delivered, older aircraft have been retired. Not to mention the many airlines that are operating smaller fleets for the foreseeable future.
However, the A380 should be back within a year, perhaps sooner if recovery goes well. So, anyone hoping to fly on one of these classics with Qantas won’t have to wait too long.
Are you looking forward to seeing Qantas bring back the A380? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.