Qantas confirms A380 bound for Johannesburg in September

It’s the first time the red-tailed superjumbo will fly to South Africa.

By Chris Ashton, March 11 2024
Qantas confirms A380 bound for Johannesburg in September

Qantas Sydney to Johannesburg is on track for a superjumbo upgrade in late September, with the airline confirming the present Boeing 787 Dreamliner will indeed make way for the boosted capacity of the Airbus A380.

Of course, the September 30 switch is still three months later than originally planned due to supply chain issues, which have not only delayed the return of more A380s but forced the airline to reshape its international network to plug some rather large holes.

However, the airline remains confident the double-decker will jet off to Jo’burg as scheduled, not only adding more seats but bringing first class to the 14-hour journey.

Qantas first class will be the finest way to jet over to South Africa.
Qantas first class will be the finest way to jet over to South Africa.

Flights will slip from the current six to five times per week on the following schedule:

  • QF63 from Sydney takes off at 9:30am, arriving in Johannesburg at 4:10pm.
  • QF64 sees wheels up at 6:40pm, arriving at 2:35pm the following day.

(Qantas has previously advised the Sydney-Jo’burg superjumbo will float between four and six times per week, depending on the time of year and demand.)

Currently just eight of Qantas’ 10 superjumbos are in the air, leading it to peg Sydney-New York schedule at four flights a week before ramping up to six from October, rather than the previous August, plus roster more Dreamliners between Melbourne and LA.

Once the A380 is bouncing across the Indian Ocean to Johannesburg, those Boeing 787s will finally be freed up to appear on more US-bound routes.

Though Qantas is the only carrier flying between South Africa and Australia at present, that changes on April 28, when South African Airways makes its long-awaited return to Perth.

South African Airways' A340 business class.
South African Airways' A340 business class.

Taking wing on an Airbus A340 fitted with 38 lie-flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 layout, the service will be a significant boon for west coast travellers, eliminating hours of backtracking to Sydney before continuing on to Johannesburg.

And once on the ground, a wealth of experiences await, from wildlife spotting on safari to sipping and savouring through some of South Africa’s historic wine regions.

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 100

I apologise in advance if this is a basic question: but (not living in Australia or RSA), I had no idea that the east Australia - South Africa rout was so huge and profitable that it warrants an A380! 

13 Sep 2022

Total posts 10

It's because the east coast cities of Australia have fairly large SA diasporas, with Sydney having the biggest by far. This, combined with QF63 being the only direct flight between Australia and South Africa, makes the route quite a niche, and as a result QF63 frequently sees very high demand.

06 Jan 2017

Total posts 16

Many ex  South Africa Citizens live in Australia, especially Perth on the west coast.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2013

Total posts 138

few weeks after relaxation of travel, i had to go to JNB, the flight was 100% full, on the 787. There is a significant south african origin population out of sydney, melbourne.

09 Dec 2023

Total posts 12

The proposed schedule could be operated with eight aircraft.  The problem appears that VHOQL is scheduled for the seat upgrade and maintenance before either OQA or OQC return from AUH where there been for around two years.

17 Nov 2023

Total posts 13

I'll get excited when I see some availability of classic business class redemption award seats :)

02 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Melbourne also has a substantial ex South African/Southern African population plus a tourist market to tap into. How is it that 14 years after Virgin Australia commenced then discontinued a direct Melbourne - Jo’burg service, there has not been an attempt to resume such a service by any airline?

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