Qantas Test Flies Its Airbus A380 Ahead Of Return To Service

Qantas has been operating test flights with its only Australian-located Airbus A380 ahead of the type’s return to service. Before yesterday, the jet had remained on the ground since its arrival from Dresden back in early November. The airline is set to place the giant of the skies on flights to Los Angeles from next week.

Qantas has been flying its Airbus A380 ahead of the type’s return to service. Photo: Getty Images

Unlike many airlines, Qantas always seemed reasonably confident that it would bring the Airbus A380 back to service. The question was when, given Australia’s incredibly restrictive travel rules for most of 2021. Not many expected that they’d return so quickly.

Test flights underway

Over the past 48 hours, Qantas has been operating a series of test flights with the only one of its Airbus A380s currently on Australian soil. According to flight data from, VH-OQB has completed close to four hours’ worth of flights since early on Tuesday afternoon.

The flights have each seen the giant of the skies departing Sydney Airport (SYD) before flying away and climbing to a cruise altitude. With flight times lasting between 45 minutes and an hour, they have then returned to Sydney. Today a much shorter 18-minute flight saw a large circuit completed at roughly 6,000 feet above sea level.

Qantas, Airbus A380, Test Flights
Qantas has been operating a series of test and training flights with the giant of the skies. Photo:

VH-OQB is the second oldest Airbus A380 in the Qantas fleet. According to data from, the aircraft was delivered on December 15th, 2008. Having first flown on June 25th of that year, the plane is 13.54 years old. As of May 31st, 2021, the aircraft had completed 50,345 flight hours (5.74 years) across 4,445 flight cycles. The plane’s current market value is listed as $30.94 million.

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Back to Los Angeles next week

VH-OQB spent much of its grounding at Los Angeles International Airport. On August 19th, the aircraft flew to Dresden for maintenance, where it remained until it returned to Sydney on November 8th. Now, the plane is set to go back to Los Angeles, but it won’t hang around for so long this time.

The plane will be jetting off to Los Angeles next week. Photo: Getty Images

The giant of the skies is set to operate three rotations between Sydney and Los Angeles each week from January 10th. The giant has been yanked from its slumber earlier than planned to help with crew quarantines on the Boeing 787 fleet. According to previous reporting, pilots needing to quarantine upon return to Australia has meant a lack of pilots for some routes. The A380 will allow the airline to use an alternate pilot pool for these flights, meaning that there will be less demand and stress on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilot pool.

Are you looking forward to the return of the Airbus A380 to the Qantas fleet? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!