Executive Traveller exclusive
Qantas will welcome back the first of ten Airbus A380s on Tuesday November 9, in readiness for the restart of superjumbo flights to Los Angeles in late March 2022.
The airline has confirmed to Executive Traveller that the A380 will arrive in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon, where it's sure to enjoy a warm reception when it pulls into Hangar 96 at the Qantas jet base.
It'll also be a sight to see for passengers in the domestic Qantas Club and Qantas Business Lounge as the majestic double-decker rolls past those panoramic windows.
And in common with all of the returning red-tailed A380s, this one has been upgraded with the latest business class and premium economy seats, along with two new 'premium lounges' at the front of the upper deck and refreshed first class suites.
It'll be joined by a second A380 early next year, with the pair taking wing on the Sydney-Los Angeles route in late March 2022.
That's as much as two years earlier than Qantas first thought, based on initial projections that demand for international travel wouldn't reach the pre-pandemic levels needed to fill the 485-seat double decker jets until 2023-2024.
However, the surge of bookings as Australia once again allows international travel and removes quarantine for overseas arrivals proved a shot in the arm for the superjumbo's prospects.
Qantas' schedule now shows the Airbus A380 flying from March 27 as QF11 with a 10.15am departure – and with the airline releasing a slew of seats to be booked at its low Classic Flight Reward rates, if you look ahead and pick the right dates you can score a business class seat for under 110,000 Qantas Points or a first class suite for just over 160,000 Qantas Points.
By mid-November 2022, another three superjumbos will be back for the Sydney-Singapore-London 'Kangaroo Route' – freeing up more Boeing 787s to take on other international routes to the USA and Asia – with the remaining five expected to return to service by early 2024.
(Two of the 12 superjumbos will be retired "because they will be surplus to requirements," the airline says.)
After maintenance and engineering checks, the A380 will be used to assist with pilot and crew training ahead of its return to service, although Executive Traveller understands that the necessary A380 flights will be crew-only affairs, rather than scheduled domestic or short-range international hops which can be booked by the public.
All the same, we remain hopeful of seeing at least one A380 flight launched as a special celebratory event, for which seats would no doubt sell out in a matter of hours.