Qantas has highlighted future plans that include the return of six Airbus A380 into operation by the end of 2023 as demand for outbound and inbound grows back to pre-Covid levels.
While the airline will offer voluntary redundancy to cabin crew of its international Airbus A380 and Airbus A330 jets, enough pilots of the flagship aircraft will be kept ready for a rapid restart of the six A380s, according to Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“With early retirement and voluntary redundancy and people taking leave without pay, we actually have scale to crew six of the aircraft,” Joyce said,
“If they do come back in when we expect them, at the end of 2023, we’ll activate the first six aircraft very rapidly because we’ll have the pilots to do it.”
Those six jets are expected to be the A380s which have been upgraded with new business class and premium economy seats, refreshed first-class suites and two new inflight lounges on the upper deck.
“Half the aircraft have been reconfigured with brand new product – there’s an aircraft that has plastic on brand new seats that came directly from Germany into the Mojave Desert” for storage, Mr Joyce said.
“We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on those new seats, the aircrafts are now sitting in the desert waiting to be operated again, and we think there’ll be a huge demand for them when we get back.”
Until the A380 comes back into service, Qantas plan is to use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s to take over former A380 routes such as the Kangaroo Route from Sydney to London via Singapore, Sydney to Los Angeles and Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth.
In the meantime, the Boeing 787 will continue to serve as Qantas’ flagship, and deliver a financial assist through the relatively large premium cabin with 42 seats in business class and 28 in premium economy, out of a total of 236 seats.
By Joe Cusmano