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.
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 I’ve been sitting in Singapore airport for EIGHT HOURS waiting for flight QF2 that was due to leave at 7:15pm. Not a single update has been given to any passenger
— Victoria Ross (@victorialross) November 24, 2019
Supposed to be on final approach to Sydney before @qantas finally decides to admit QF2 is still in Singapore and we’re going nowhere tonight. Great communication (not).
— Martin Eriksson at #mtpontour (@bfgmartin) November 24, 2019
@Qantas QF2 out of Changi delayed almost 7 hours. Horrific lack of communication from the staff and inconsistent updates. Pregnant women, young kids, disabled and elderly people left sat in the terminal with a few snack packs and platitudes. Not good enough.
— BK (@Brittany_Kirby2) November 24, 2019
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.
Hi Anita, QF2 has been cancelled. Our Airport team will assist all passengers with the next steps. They’ll be updated directly. Safia .
— Qantas (@Qantas) November 24, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
@QantasUSA @Qantas lost trip time, extra expenses, unrefundable car rental cost, lack of sleep, waiting in line after long line, lost bag, countless phone calls. This was really a nightmare of an experience. And we are STILL currently at LAX. This was flight QF12 from LAX to SYD.
— Diane Yang Kirk (@dianeyangkirk) November 26, 2019
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.
Hi Zeb, QF12 was delayed overnight due to mechanical reasons. As always, safety is our main priority. Let us know if we can clarify anything else here. Zen
— Qantas (@Qantas) November 26, 2019
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.