One grounded A380 superjumbo needs 4,500 hours work to fly again

Bringing an A380 out of hibernation is a long and complicated process.

By Bloomberg News, October 25 2022
One grounded A380 superjumbo needs 4,500 hours work to fly again

Returning just one grounded A380 superjumbo back into the air requires 4,500 hours of work, Qantas CEO Officer Alan Joyce said, highlighting the challenge as aviation struggles to meet surging travel demand. 

Qantas parked all 12 of its Airbus A380s in June 2020 as travel dried up at the start of the pandemic. 

It’s bringing back 10 of the jets, the world’s largest passenger plane, as international demand rebounds – although two A380s have been retired, with the airline describing them as “surplus to requirements.”

At a lunchtime speech in Sydney on Monday, Joyce explained the process of reactivating a plane that’s been sitting in the Californian desert for more than two years. 

“Just to wake up an A38O is 4,500 hours, or two months, of manpower. That’s 10 engineers working for two months in the Mojave Desert – for one plane.”

“They replace all 22 wheels, all 16 brakes, get rid of all of the oxygen cylinders and fire extinguishers. Everything on board the aircraft is replaced.”

Qantas isn’t alone in this – Cathay Pacific is going through a similar process with its Airbus and Boeing jets stored in Alice Springs, as the Hong Kong-based airline plots its own recovery.

Joyce highlighted the many stages of an A380’s walk-up call to emphasise that reawakening these A380s from their Covid hibernation is no quick or easy task.

“The aircraft is put up on jacks in the middle of the desert. Its gear is tested, the aircraft’s engines are run in the desert to make sure that they’re all functioning. That’s just to get out of the desert to Los Angeles or to another maintenance facility.”

“When the aircraft’s flown out, most of the aircraft then go through 100 days of maintenance on top of that.”

Joyce said the airline now plans to have six A380s again “by Christmas… but we won’t get all 10 of them back until well into 2024. That’s how long this takes.”

As previously reported, Qantas has now scrapped plans to resume A380 flying between Melbourne and Los Angeles as of March 2023 due to this ‘superjumbo shortage’.

Additional reporting by David Flynn.


This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here