The world’s biggest passenger aircraft – the A380 super jumbo – is making a STUNNING comeback as the world begins to emerge from the global pandemic.
Qantas Airways has surprised the aviation world by announcing the early return of its flagship A380 super jumbos – one of several carriers planning to reinstate the double-decker aircraft as travel demand picks up post pandemic.
The ‘Flying Kangaroo’ mothballed its fleet of 12 A380s at the start of the global pandemic, putting many in deep storage at LAX as well as the Mojave Desert boneyard in California (pictured below), where they were expected to stay until late 2023.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce confirmed at the airline’s annual shareholder meeting on Friday that 10 of the airline’s 12 A380s would return to service from early next year. The other two aircraft will be retired early.
The decision to fast track the return of the A380 comes as demand for international travel, particularly on the Sydney–Los Angeles and Sydney–London routes continues to exceed expectations.
The first Qantas A380 – VH-OQB, named Hudson Fysh – will return to Australia on Tuesday afternoon (see below) following routine engineering work at Dresden in Germany.
Over the next few months the aircraft will undergo further maintenance checks and a cabin refurbishment, before re-entering service on the Sydney-LA route in March next year.
The four-engine super jumbo is returning to service two years earlier than expected, and has surprised many aviation experts who declared the A380 dead due to the Covid crisis.
Demand for international travel wasn’t expected to reach the pre-pandemic levels needed to fill the 485-seat double decker jets until 2023-2024 at the earliest. But Qantas has been overwhelmed by bookings as Australians look to spread their wings following severe lockdowns this year.
As a result, the airline is reportedly in talks with Boeing about the delivery of three new 787-9s to accelerate its international flight plans.
Lufthansa and Air France decided to permanently retire their A380s during the COVID-19 crisis.
But the super jumbo is returning to favour with other long haul airlines.
Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the A380, will reinstate the double-decker aircraft on its daily Dubai-Sydney flight from December 1, replacing the Boeing 777 used during the pandemic.
Singapore Airlines will be reinstating the A380 on flights to London from November 18, and between Singapore and Sydney from December 1.
British Airways will be flying super jumbos from the UK to Madrid and Frankfurt initially.
From next month it will add Dubai, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles, then South Africa from January and Dallas in March.
Qatar will redeploy the A380 for flights to the UK and France from mid-December, with other long haul routes likely to follow.
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