In what is a highly unusual move for the airline, Qantas is currently flying an Airbus A380 from Germany to the United States. The aircraft, VH-OQG, has been in Dresden since February and is now moving to join other Qantas A380s in long term storage.
Seeing an Airbus A380 is the skies is a reasonably rare occurrence, given the current situation. Indeed, only a handful are in passenger service. However, we previously saw British Airways ferry its fleet to London one by one for maintenance. Now, Qantas is operating an Airbus A380 flight from Germany to the US.
Why Germany to the United States?
On the face of it, the Australian flag carrier flying between Germany and the US may seem a tad odd. However, things aren’t all that they seem. Qantas has been very public about putting the Airbus A380 fleet into storage. However, two of its jets remained in Dresden, Germany, where they were receiving a cabin interior refurbishment.
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It seems that Qantas would rather have its whole fleet together, and now that refurbishment is complete, the aircraft is heading to Victorville in the Mojave desert to join its sisters. Under the flight number QF6006, VH-OQG departed from Dresden at 14:16. At the time of writing, it is expected to land in Victorville at 15:45, around ten and a half hours after departure, according to FlightRadar24.com.
Inside the refurbished A380
It has been just under a year since we got our first glimpse of the refurbished Qantas Airbus A380. The new cabin debuted from London to Sydney on October 1st, 2019. However, what’s changed inside the cabins of these giants?
The refurbished Qantas A380 has less of a focus on economy passengers, with 30 fewer seats than before. The only real improvements in the remaining economy cabin are new seat cushions and a new IFE system.
Qanats have moved the premium economy cabin to the upper deck of the aircraft, with 60 seats in a 2-3-2 layout. These seats are 10% wider than on the original A380 cabin. As we mentioned, the economy cabin is getting smaller.
In its place, the business class cabin has increased to 70 seats. This sees passengers benefiting from a 1-2-1 layout of suites. The airline has also refurbished the lounge area at the front of the upper deck. The first-class cabin at the front of the lower floor has mild changes such as a larger IFE screen.
When British Airways returned an aircraft from heavy maintenance in Manila, another A380 was sent out in its place. As of April, Qantas was planning to continue with the Airbus A380 refurbishment program, to have completed the remaining six aircraft by the end of 2020.
However, with Qantas set to mothball the aircraft until at least 2023, the question remains as to whether this will indeed be the case. The existing refurbishments could be a good sign for the aircraft’s future, however. Qantas is unlikely to want to waste money by not using its brand new interior.
Have you flown on the Qantas Airbus A380? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!