1/4 Of Qantas’ Airbus A380 Fleet Is Currently Out Of Action

Right now, one-quarter of the Qantas A380 fleet is out of action. That’s not great news for the flying kangaroo, as peak season in the southern hemisphere approaches. At one point yesterday, it was a third of the fleet, but the last one has just taken off. Here’s where they all are.

Qantas A380
Several of Qantas’ A380s are not in service. Photo: Qantas

One A380 is stuck in Singapore

Qantas’ A380 registered VH-OQF was doing the two-leg hop from London to Sydney via Singapore when it ran into trouble. Arriving from London as QF2, the Airbus was due to depart from Changi just after 7pm on the 24th of November. However, mechanical problems with the plane meant it never took off, although strangely Flight Radar shows it as estimated to depart at 19:35… 19:35 on what day, we ask?

It’s been three days now, and OQF is still on the ground in Singapore. Although the passengers will have been moved on by now, they weren’t very happy with Qantas’ handling of the situation at the time.

Qantas seemed a bit unsure of what was going on themselves for a while, with some tweets suggesting that the thought the plane was on its way. However, they eventually realized that the aircraft was on the ground and issued a confirmation of the cancellation to all their passengers.

We presume that all passengers have now made their way to Sydney safely. However, the same cannot be said for OQF. It is still shown as being on the ground in Singapore awaiting repair. Insiders report that the number two engine will not start.

VH-OQF is still in Singapore now. Photo: Flight Radar 24

Two are having maintenance

As well as poor old OQF in Singapore, two more A380s are out of action but for different reasons. VH-OQJ is sunning itself in Abu Dhabi right now, and has been there since early October. It is thought that the aircraft is having a heavy maintenance check.

VH-OQJ is having heavy maintenance in the Middle East. Photo: Mark Harkin via Flickr

If this is a D check, which would be likely given the amount of time it’s been in the Middle East already, it’s an extensive overhaul process. Performed every six years, it involves taking the entire aircraft apart and then putting it back together again. It will be costing Qantas millions and usually takes up to six weeks, but will effectively be like a new plane when it comes back.

The last A380 on the ground is VH-OQH. This aircraft has been in Dresden since the 22nd October, awaiting its fit out with the amazing new A380 cabin. This is likely to take four to five weeks, so we should see this aircraft back in action soon.

Business class on the refurbished Qantas A380. Photo: Qantas.

It was almost one-third of the fleet

As well as the reduced capacity from these troubled A380s, Qantas had an additional issue over in the USA. VH-OQK, the first of the refurbished Qantas A380s, had arrived from Sydney as flight QF11 on the 25th of November at a little after 06:00. It was scheduled to head back to Sydney later in the day as QF12. The scheduled time of departure was 22:30, but several hours later the passengers were still waiting to board the aircraft.

Reports suggest that this was an electrical generation fault with the aircraft, causing an overnight delay for the passengers. Qantas only put it down to a ‘mechanical problem’ without further clarification.

However, it now appears that OQK is back in service, as Flight Radar is showing it as having left Los Angeles for Australia within the last couple of hours. However, it is now operating as flight QF94, an LA to Melbourne flight. It’s unclear whether the stranded passengers from QF12 have been accommodated on this flight or some other one.

With any luck, these stranded jumbos will be back in the skies very soon.