Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft is back to the skies again, nearly two years after the airline grounded its Super Jumbo fleet. Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft, named VH-OQB, departed to Sydney Kingsford Smyth Airport and landed at Los Angeles International Airport, United States, at 9.40 pm on January 11, 2021. Since March 2020, VH-OQB will be the first Qantas A380 to carry commercial passengers. Qantas Airbus A380 was formerly known as ‘Hudson Fysh’.
On the Sydney-Los Angeles route, the airline’s A380 will replace the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, marking the A380’s return to commercial service.
Due to workforce shortages on overseas flights, Qantas said in December 2021 that it would be delaying the return of the A380 from April to January 2022.
After each international flight, 70 Boeing 787 flight crew members will be obliged to undergo two weeks of self-isolation. As a result, Qantas has opted to replace its daily 787 flights between Sydney and Los Angeles with three weekly A380 flights and one weekly 787 trip.
According to Planespotters.net, Qantas now has a fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft with an average age of 12.4 years. In early November, Qantas revived another A380.
Qantas Airbus A380’s first-class suites will not be up for sale
Despite Qantas’ flagship Airbus A380 having returned to commercial, the airline has decided not to sell the superjumbo’s luxurious first-class suites. Instead, business class will remain the most expensive seat available on the first three A380 flights per week between Sydney and Los Angeles.
However, the first-class open suites, designed by Marc Newson with a high-walled cocoon design and swivelling recliner chair, will not be empty during the flights. Instead, Qantas will use it to upgrade top-tier frequent flyers who have booked business class flights.
When Qantas grounded its 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos at the pandemic’s start, the airline expected them to be grounded until 2023. However, post-pandemic travel began to pick up faster than Qantas had anticipated, and A380s were rescheduled for July 2022, March 2022, and most recently, January 11.
According to Qantas, one A380 was brought back for aircraft’s staff training and as an operational spare before it prepares to meet the travel rush of the summer holidays. That spare is now put into duty, with a second superjumbo arriving over the weekend. While the airline claims that these changes will offer greater operational flexibility, it is still working out some onboard customer service features requiring a longer lead time. First-class suites could come back at a later stage, perhaps in March.