That’s a wrap, folks. The final Airbus A380 for Qantas has arrived in Los Angeles (LAX) ahead of its intended storage amid a global downturn in demand. VH-OQC landed in the morning hours at LAX on July 27th.
The final Qantas A380 arrives in LAX from Australia
VH-OQC was the 10th Qantas A380 to arrive in Los Angeles ahead of its entrance into long-term storage. Another two A380s are in Dresden, Germany, where they are undergoing interior retrofits. The first A380 for Qantas arrived in California earlier this month. Since then, multiple A380s have made their way off to the Mojave Desert.
VH-OQC is the last A380 to depart Australia for long-term storage. https://t.co/G9KWpbX4oY
Most Qantas A380s are now in California. -OQG and -OQI are still in Dresden after interior rework. pic.twitter.com/8yP4emeOfD
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) July 27, 2020
The Airbus A380s are entering long-term storage in the California desert. Qantas is not anticipating flying its A380s for about three years– if not longer– and that requires a lot of careful planning and coordination. Victorville, one of the most well-known aircraft storage locations in the world, is ideally suited to take care of the planes until Qantas needs them back.
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While the United States is a bit far for storing these aircraft, there are good reasons for the airline to store the planes in California. Given the increased demand for aircraft storage at locations closer to home, like Alice Springs and the amount of space 12 Airbus A380s would occupy, California likely worked out to be the best option. Storing an aircraft, as we’ve seen, takes a lot of hard work.
According to data from Flightradar24, this aircraft has been pretty quiet. The 11-year-old jet last flew from Melbourne to Sydney on a ferry flight in early April. Before that, its last flight was a roundtrip between Melbourne and Singapore on March 21st.
Qantas used to fly the Airbus A380s on some of its most prestigious routes. This includes flights from London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Dallas to Sydney and, in some cases, Melbourne as well.
When will the Airbus A380s come back?
As of now, Qantas is expecting incredibly depressed international demand. The airline, as part of its recovery strategy, will park these aircraft for the next three years.
The A380s are undergoing a retrofit to include a brand new interior that will be a delight for passengers. Not all have undergone these changes. This is an expensive process and, if Qantas sees it fit, could retire some A380s rather than invest in the remainder– as Air France did.
Much of the type’s return to service with Qantas will depend on how tourism shapes up. Australia has shut its borders to foreign tourists and business travelers– one of Qantas’ biggest sources of revenue– leaving the airline with way more jets than it needs. That was what led the carrier to wave farewell to its iconic Boeing 747s.
This leaves Qantas with the Boeing 787, and maybe Airbus A350s, as the mainstay international long-haul fleet to the US if the A380s are retired. Although, in the meantime, the 787s might just have the perfect amount of capacity given suppressed demand.
Are you sad to see Qantas send its A380s to America for storage? Let us know in the comments!