Qantas extends Sydney-Hong Kong Airbus A380 schedule

By David Flynn, July 18 2014

Qantas will bring the Airbus A380 back onto the Sydney-Hong Kong route across selected dates in February and March 2015 "to cater for strong demand over the Chinese New Year", the airline says.

As of September 29 flights QF127/128 will be flown only by the older Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets, except for 11 December 2014 to 26 January 2015 when an A380 returns onto the daily roster to handle higher demand during the holiday period.

Qantas now advises that the superjumbo will also be seen on Sydney-Hong Kong flights on 14 and 15 February 2015 as well as from 27 February to 2 March 2015 inclusive.

(Chinese New Year Thursday falls on 19 February 2015).

Given that Qantas will no longer sell first class on the Sydney-Hong Kong route once the Boeing 747s take over, many top-tier frequent flyers booked into the A380s business class will find themselves upgrades to the A380's first class cabin.

They'll still receive standard business class meals and service but will enjoy them from the comfy confines of the superjumbo's 14 first class suites. 

PREVIOUS | Qantas has confirmed that its flagship Airbus A380s are being withdrawn from the Sydney-Hong Kong route as of September 29 this year.

The daily QF127/128 service will be flown by an older Boeing 747-400 instead, with the A380 being used to launch Qantas' new superjumbo service between Sydney and Dallas.

However, a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that the Airbus 380 would return to the Sydney-Hong Kong route "from 11 December 2014 to 26 January 2015 to accommodate the seasonal demand."

This seasonal superjumbo service will not see a reduction in any other A380 flights, the spokesperson said.

"Between flight patterning and no A380s in maintenance at this time we are able to facilitate the A380 Hong Kong schedule."

As previously reported, Qantas won't operate first class on the A380 flights to Hong Kong, opting instead to treat the superjumbo's 14 first class suites as a primo business class cabin reserved for top-tier frequent flyers.

Qantas A380 first class suites will be up for grabs for top-tier frequent flyers booked into business class on the Sydney-Hong Kong route
Qantas A380 first class suites will be up for grabs for top-tier frequent flyers booked into business class on the Sydney-Hong Kong route

Previous | Qantas will no longer offer first class tickets on its Sydney-Hong Kong flights from later this year as the airline shuffles its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 fleet to cater for its new superjumbo service between Sydney and Dallas.

Qantas currently flies its flagship A380 between Sydney and Hong Kong five days a week, from Thursday to Monday, with the Boeing 747 rostered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with first class cabins available on both those aircraft.

However, from September 29 – the same day that the A380 makes its Dallas debut – Qantas has withdrawn the sale of first class seats to and from Hong Kong.

"We're currently finalising the mix of A380s and B747s flying between Sydney and Hong Kong in order to facilitate the upgrade to Dallas services" a Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

The changes will also see Qantas replace the older Boeing 747 currently used for Hong Kong flights with one of its reconfigured versions with the dedicated first class cabin in the jumbo's nose replaced by more of the Skybed II lie-flat business class seats, "meaning no First Class cabin" the spokesperson explained.

Also read: The Unofficial Qantas First Class Upgrade Guide

A380 flights factored on "seasonal demand"

Qantas has not revealed the fate of its flagship Airbus A380 on the Hong Kong route, but has promised “more detail on this in the next few weeks."

"As well as aircraft availability and patterning, the other factor we’re looking at in determining this mix is seasonal demand. Given the capacity difference, the A380 would make more sense at peak times.

However, even when the Airbus A380 does fly between Sydney and Hong Kong, Qantas passengers won’t be able to buy tickets for first class travel.

With the first class-free Boeing 747 being “the aircraft we’ll be using most of the time on this route, we won’t be offering First Class on the A380 when it does on operate to Hong Kong” the Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

Instead, top-tier frequent flyers booked into business class will find themselves ensconced in the superjumbo's luxe first class cabin.

They'll still receive business class meals and service, but will enjoy them from the comfy confines of 14 first class suites. 

"Seats in the First cabin will be allocated to our most Frequent Flyers travelling in Business" the Qantas spokesperson said, "We already do this on our non-reconfigured B747s, which have a First cabin.”

Qantas’ sole competitor on the Sydney-Hong Kong route is Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific with four daily flights between the cities, although none of these offer first class.

Virgin Atlantic axed its Sydney-Hong Kong service earlier this month, with the Richard Branson-backed airline describing the route as "no longer considered profitable" due to "increasing costs and a challenging economic environment."

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1381

Not surprising.

Is the withdrawn from sale a direct confirmation from Qantas? Not totally clear from the article.

Hi moa999,

This has all been confirmed by Qantas (the quotes in the article were sourced when speaking to the airline about this very topic).

If you attempt to book a first class flight on the Qantas website from September 29, you'll just get an error message saying that flights aren't available.

Existing bookings haven't yet been changed, as the airline would need to contact first class travellers to make alternate arrangements.

-Chris

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 737

I'm sure CX will pick up the slack :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 110

There's no first in any of the CX A330s

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 737

Correct. They'd have to use something else with an F cabin. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1381

Cathay would need to use some of its 24s 777s on the route (to be replaced with A350-1000s from 2018) which afaik have never been used on the Australian routes, CX preferring a smaller plane with greater frequencies.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

I suspect they'd either be offered a refund or rebooked onto SQ F via SIN. I'd be shocked if they were to rebook onto TG F or even CZ F.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Maybe EK F via BKK would be an option (EK flies both SYD-BKK & BKK-HKG)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 582

madge - Good observation!

My suggestion of SQ is based on several experiences I've heard where BA's 777 went tech and the F passengers were rebooked onto SQ.

Though, EK via BKK does sound like a better fit if the timings line up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

The timings don't match up. You layover in BKK for around 12 hours outbound, and 19 hours inbound. Each way, you arrive just past midnight, and need to wait till afternoon (outbound) or evening (inbound).

It has one word written all over it, and that word is 'nope'.

QF

21 May 2014

Total posts 24

I am fairly sure CX have more than 24 77W, let alone 777's.

I may have seen some photographical evidence of the 777's being used on the PER legs back in the late 90's, but I could't confirm for sure.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

CX wants more capacity into Australia but have used up their entitlement. They may need to look at upsizing if they have the demand.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

77Ws, then. They don't have A380s and I doubt the 744 is coming.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

CX has 39 77w atm and will be using the remainder for new Europe/USA flights

CX already announced Manchester and Zurich

if anything CX will increase frequencies as soon as the aussie govt permits

interesting that CX maintains its frequencies to SYD throughout the year- not as affected by seasonal demand to the same extent as QF

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Why? Maybe they've both decided F isn't viable between Australia and HKG.

Sort of validates my suggestion that double-daily A330-300s with J/W/Y was the better strategy than a lone A380.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 228

Totally agree Watson. The upgraded A330s will bring the product consistency that is so often the achilles heel for Qantas. They'll probably continue to deploy the A380s on seasonal demand eg. Chinese NY, and there is nothing wrong with that. Smart business sense. If only they could get an Emirates like relationship with CX to drive HK as an alternative hub for China, India and Europe. Ditch Jetstar HK! Then fly in smaller aircraft from all Australian capitals to feed.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Cathay will not move 777's of any kind onto Australia. The A330 serve the Australian market perfectly well and the Business product on the A330 is so good anyway. CX are not interested in bringing their First Class back to Australia as there just isn't sufficient demand for it.

KK
KK

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 104

Agreed. CX flies 77W to all their North America and most European cities, along with Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei for short rotation.

As they will go back to Manchester, Zurich and Boston in the near future, I don't expect any 77W to Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Feb 2013

Total posts 45

"Cathay Pacific brings Boeing 777-300ER onto Sydney-Hong Kong"  - Ausbt, 4 Aug 2014

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

With in one year Qantas will only fly A330,s on this sector.Thats if they still fly the route on their own metal...then it will be code shared out.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

What constitutes 'Most Frequent Flyers'... WP? P1? CL?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Samuelc: one would think so - the standard pecking order being Chairman's Lounge, Platinum One, Platinum, Gold and Silver - but Qantas would not get into status specifics.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Jan 2013

Total posts 12

As a platinum I would hope so :D. Wonder how OWE, OWS and OWR fit into it all...

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

So, 'reading between the lines', I take this to mean that Qantas will pull all of its A380s off SYD-HKG, replacing them with the reconfigured B747, but leave open their option to bring the A380 back onto selected days during those 'peak seasons' such as holidays. And because this is a bit of an unknown, the A380s will have the 'F reserved for frequent flyers' cabin.

What I don't understand is where they will get that A380 from, for SYD-HKG during those peak seasons.

If Qantas is taking the A380 off SYD-HKG to run Dallas, alongside the A380 which is made available by changes to the Melbourne-Dubai-London timetable, then how do they conjure up another A380 for Hong Kong during peak seasons? Surely they will not cut back on Dallas flights during the same holiday seasons!

24 May 2012

Total posts 7

Under the new schedule you only need eleven A380s to opertate to LHR LAX & DFW. Normally one A380 is under maintinace or is a spare.

QF would schedule it so no A380s are under maintince so they can use all twelve aircraft.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

I really like the reconfigured 747's so as long as it is one of those then I would be happy with not being on an A380.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

It,s all stop gap.Not a monney making sector.

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 141

Not happy at all with this as I've booked in a return ticket in first class at the end of the year. Called up Qantas and they said those with F class bookings will be notified soon to either downgrade to business class (either with QF or Oneworld carrier such as CX) and receive the difference in fare as a refund, or receive a full refund. Since I'm keen in flying in first class, I reckon I'll take the full refund and fly SQ's first class. Sorry QF, but you've lost my business now on the SYD-HK route.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Propofol88,

Please advise of your refund experience as i am in a similar boat.

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 141

Will do Robert.

Really a first world  (and first class) problem I must say :) , but I feel jipped by QF as I bought these tickets when they had a first class promotional sale a couple months ago, and to then downgrade me and offer a partial refund at the current business class fare (which is not a discount one) is not good a deal IMO.

Furthermore, I usually fly SYD-HKG and in first class so it will be harder to maintain Platinum status with QF in the future flying in anything less given the number of SYD-HKG trips I do with them each year. Given the way QF is headed, I reckon it's time I put my hard earned to Virgin and their alliance. WIll fly with SQ and give my Virgin Velocity account a boost from gold to platinum. SQ's 777 first class and A380 suites never disappoint! Yeah there's a stopover in Changi, but a trip to the Private Room lounge is worth the delay :)

therealqueen Banned
therealqueen Banned

19 May 2014

Total posts 40

Omg upgrading those platys into first cabin just awful, having to mix with the polyester suit set. Can it get any worse!

seriously qantas I doubt you have any idea what your doing now.

it just sounds desperate!

therealqueen,

With first class not being sold on future A380 flights, the only way you'd be 'mixing' with the 'suit set' is if you yourself were travelling in business class with them (as, you know, the first class cabin would exist in name only on those flights).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Erm, it wouldn't exist in name only. It would exist in being but not name! :P

I think it works both ways – either it's the 'first class cabin with business class service' or the 'business class cabin with first class seats' (but with those dreaded suits on board)... ;)

ffh
ffh

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

09 Oct 2013

Total posts 6

Propofol88

We just don't know what's QF doing... a month ago with advertisement on HK newspaper saying... commitment using A380 on HKG-SYD-HKG. It seems they don't even care about their QFF

Robert

Not money making sector? Once QF ended the relationship with BA and tied with EK. I guess QF wants all paxs to fly with Jetstar in Asia in future... changing the pattern for BKK, HKG, SIN

 

See BA codeshare CX Australian flights. They do have their own flights from HKG-LHR (BA daily A380, daily B777), (CX 5 daily B777-300ER). I do not like to have one specific schedule with different aircraft types such as sometimes B744, sometimes A380 (see how many comments from here that they like both)... See SQ also reduced their A380 services to Australia and use it to BOM and DEL. SQ offers B772, B773, B777-300ER, A380 on SIN-SYD and B777-300ER, A380 on SIN-LHR

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

says a lot about their lack of long term planning that they would advertise their A380 last month then pull it this month. 

not dissimilar to making a big deal of their limo service last year only to pull it out of US routes this year. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Qantas = the spirit of planning on the go

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

They really are winging it, eh.

At least it'll have the A380 product for J/W/Y.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1229

Nice pun. Its a real shame its correct.

The use of the an A380 to DFW makes sense. But QF misleading customers with ads etc, does not. QF cutting back on J/F airport transfers does not, QF not being honest with its passengers does not.

What I would do to see some long-term vision for the Roo... a vision which QF management sticks too rather than changing every couple of months.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Thanks, but the best was a SIN lounge thread in which a total of five shirt puns were pulled off.

Anyway, you're spot on. A vision is really needed, especially for the Asia network.

16 Oct 2012

Total posts 17

Sounds like typical QF style: First satuate the route. Drive out compeditors (aka Virgin Atlantic). Then reduce capacity to maximise profit.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

That suggests a level of brainpower and forward thinking not usually apparent in QF management. I reckon they're just scheduling via dartboard again.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

Pretty much what Hugo said, but it's sound business, and I honestly would give them credit for that. Anyway, it's a decision that I see mainly driven by the introduction of the A380 on DFW. At least a three-class frame is being used, hopefully with fully-flat business.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

managment must have forgotten then that CX flies 4 times a day...

looks more like CX is driving out competitors...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Hahaha this was sooo not expected

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

David, I think that I've seen an article saying that Qantas is running revamped 747s to Hong Kong, though I'm not sure. Are they running older or newer 747s?

31 Oct 2012

Total posts 4

Why lauch the Dallas A380 when you know you've halted A380 deliveries? (Please enlighten me!). What's the long-term plan for Qantas if they can't provide product consistency across their network? It seems that they just keep on changing strategies after strategies becuase of temporary downturns; they only have short-term based vision for the future... 

09 May 2014

Total posts 8

They have no strategy, that's the problem. They whinge and moan that people fly with their partner airlines then they remove their own services anyway. Business class on QF in an A330 is horrid for the price point. They can get stuffed,  I was booking F class on QF and then flying BA to LHR once a month,now. I will just go CX from start to finish. When will Joyce realise that DXB is a cesspit and it's total disregard for human rights is appalling. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2013

Total posts 55

Just a all round FAIL with substandard product !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Tezza your right.There is no need nor reason to justify an A380 on this sector.Get that A380 BNE/LAX now.Make some money on routes you can compete and offer a standard product to the US from all Aust departure points.


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