Qantas Airways will bring one of its Airbus A380s back to the skies a few months ahead of the initial schedule. The flag carrier of Australia is set to return a first superjumbo on January 11, 2022.
News regarding the early return of the Qantas’ A380-800 jet appeared on December 27, 2021. The airline announced that its 13.5-year-old superjumbo, registered as VH-OQB, also known as the “Hudson Fysh”, should be re-activated as soon as January 11, 2022, as a replacement for the Boeing 787-9 aircraft, dedicated to operating international flights.
In March 2020, after pandemic restrictions strongly impacted Qantas Airways operations, the VH-OQB jet was sent to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), United States, where it was put on temporary storage until August 2021. In November 2021, aviation enthusiasts spotted the jet at Sydney Airport (SYD), Australia, where the jet flew for mandatory checks and other aircraft maintenance-related issues before returning for passenger service.
At the time Qantas Airways revealed that from mid-December 2021, it would carry out staff retraining sessions for flight and cabin crew members, who will operate long-haul flights.
According to the initial schedule, the superjumbo was supposed to be re-activated for long-haul operations by April 2022. However, since 70 of the Boeing 787 flight crew members are currently based in Queensland, where it is mandatory to undertake two weeks of isolation after each international flight, the airline found a way out from the 787 pilot shortage.
Qantas decided to switch the current daily 787 services between Sydney-Los Angeles to three weekly A380 flights and one weekly 787 flight instead. Starting from January 10, 2022, the Australian carrier will also reduce its Melbourne-London route from daily 787 services to up to four weekly 787 flights, and shrink the Melbourne-Los Angeles service frequency from four flights to three 787 flights per week.