Qantas: what to do with a spare Airbus A380..?

By David Flynn , April 14 2014
Qantas: what to do with a spare Airbus A380..?

It's far from the worst problem for an airline to have, but Qantas will soon count an extra Airbus A380 in its fleet and is mulling exactly what to do with this spare superjumbo.

The airline will rejig the timetable for Qantas' daily Melbourne-London A380 flight in November this year, reducing the amount of time the A380 spends on the ground at Heathrow.

This will reduce from three to two the number of aircraft needed for this route, making that third A380 available to fly elsewhere on the Qantas network.

But where elsewhere?

"It could be on a new route, it could be on an existing one" Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey told The Financial Review. "We are evaluating our options at the moment."

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport CEO Sean Donohue told The Financial Review that "we would love to see Qantas bring the A380 in,” adding that "we have expressed our interest and we would do anything and everything to facilitate.”

DFW is upgrading one terminal with three extra aerobridges to load passengers on the double-decker jet, and Qantas partner Emirates is set to begin A380 flights between DFW and Dubai from October 1.

Qantas' superjumbo slate

Qantas currently runs a Boeing 747-400 on the daily Sydney-Dallas flight, but boosting even one day a week to an A380 would require a pair of superjumbos.

The Flying Kangaroo's current A380 roster includes its flagship Sydney-London and Melbourne-London routes plus daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Qantas' only 'part time' A380 route is Sydney to Hong Kong, which was recently upgraded to see an A380 five days of the week (from Thursday to Monday) with a Boeing 747 on the remaining two days.

The airline currently has 12 Airbus A380s in its fleet with orders for eight more, but in February this year announced it would halt those outstanding orders "with an ongoing review of delivery dates to meet potential future requirements."

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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.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Perhaps DFW may need to be put on the backburner until a HGW version can come to the fleet. (until... if...etc) 

SYD-HKG and BNE-LAX.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

What about MEL-HKG?

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

Or BNE - HKG, in that matter... (Until 2015 anything could be done to replace the crappy A330s...)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

You could also just refurbish the A330s and solve that.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Also David what are the schedule changes? Anything been announced yet? 

I presume it will be something in the form of an evening QF9 departure. Hopefully it will run parallel to Emirates' evening services to Dubai so Qantas passengers who want to fly the Kangaroo to Dubai and Emirates to Europe, as per the whole idea, will be able to do that – hitting the onward connections. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

The changes have not yet been announced.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Oct 2013

Total posts 10

Please bring back direct SFO flights!

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Would suggest SFO flights need a smaller plane like the 787 or even a fuel efficient 777.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

There is not a sufficent load factor to justify an A380 on the MEL/LHR route now or into the future as QF can not compete.If there thinking... get that A380 operating QF 15 BNE/LAX or QF 7 SYD/DFW,even S America, a new route may be SFO.HKG or Asia does not cut it.Even pull the current A380 out of HKG and free up another A380.Go where the money and the loads and make the Americas your saviour.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Not going to touch that one today :-)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Not touching it with a twelve-foot barge pole.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Maybe they could use the downtime to repaint it in correct colours!.

Did they say what the new timetable is?

I expect to see more HKG services. Would like to see DFW but there still seems some conjecture as to whether the current QF version of the A380 can make the trip efficiently and whether loads/yields would support.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 324

It is painted in correct colours. The image used in this story is from a mock-up created before the first A380's were delivered and new livery announced.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

RK, There was some sarcasm in my first line.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 61

What about to Santiago and onward to Brazil? 

MEL - HKG I would expect, I would hope for BNE - LAX. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Whilst anything is possible, I somewhat doubt QF will use this on MEL-HKG.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I am not sure I get this statement:

"Qantas currently runs a Boeing 747-400 on the daily Sydney-Dallas flight, but boosting even one day a week to an A380 would require a pair of superjumbos."

Off my very tired mind, Qantas could do at least 3x weekly DFW with a single A380. 

Perhaps after MEL-LHR is retimed, they could do something similar with SYD-LHR and free up another A380. Originally I wasn't keen on this, but I have evolved. These could then be used for daily DFW although still with the need to stopover... time for those new 380's

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Because SYD-HKG return takes less than 24 hours, it can be done with only A380. 

Whereas SYD-DFW, DFW-BNE-SYD return takes more than 24 hours. Hence a couple of 380s needed. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Pretty much what qfflyer said. But hey, if you standardise the stopover, e.g. AKL, then you can run a A380 some days and a B747 on other days. It's not like it's not already done on HKG.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

I would agree with Watson,but may be run an A330 on the sector and continiue as QF107 to JFK.QF handed on a plater to NZ  this sector,the sad part is while QF said they lost money they still made more money than other loss making sectors they still currently operate.QF insiders say this was a mistake. And Simon Hickey.....shame on you ...you need premium con on all Int A330 flights or the grave is done.  

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

I agree. W needed on mid/long hual A330.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Yeah that works... Sydneysiders lose out as it would add an extra stop, but would be no different (possible better) for MEL/BNE passengers. They may be able to fly an EK 380 to AKL and then QF 380 to DFW.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Hutch,

Let me clarify i am not talking eliminating QF 107....far from it.I would run QF 107 744 as is now or do A380to Lax and the preposed A330 would run as in the past AKL/LAX then on to JFK. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Sorry Robert, my comment was in response to Watson's comment regarding moving QF7 from SYD-DFW to SYD-AKL-DFW & v.v

Certainly a smaller plane to to JFK makes sense in regards to passengers. But I wonder whether QF gets much cargo out of JFK? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Hutch,

I do not no about cargo out of JFK,but a lot goes out of LAX an to a less extent DFW  to OZ.Most gets out code shared by freight carriers under a 4 digit flight number starting with 6.While QF pumps cargo in the belly, my experience in corperate is during the Northern  hem summer schedual when fares are low and more money can be made on freight,,they will weight restrict flights.With out going into to much detail..only sell as an EG 50/75% on QF 12 or 108 and pump as much freight as poss based on the flight plan.

GM
GM

Air NZ Airpoints

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 36

Any rearrangement that gets QF metal going between NZ and the US gets my vote. Air NZ has too much a free run now. If it was an A380, even at low frequency it would blow Air NZ away. AKL-DFW on an A380 would be a dream, but even AKL-LAX would do.

Unfortunately, with QF's current management state of mind, I can't see any new (or revived) routes, or anything other than more of the same reductions.

Wouldn't be surprised if they leased the spare A380 out, to be honest...

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Yeah I get that HKG return is under 24hours etc and if QF was going to run daily DFW A380 flights they would need a couple of 380's. But wouldn't a single A380 be able to do 3x DFW return per week?

My vote is for BNE - SFO.  (I'd even settle for BNE - DFW).

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

here's an idea - Perth to Dubai. Allows Emirates not to deploy their A380s to the route, which apparently they want to and actually results in the red tail staying international at Perth. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Nice idea. Won't happen.

Cathay Pacific - Asia Miles

25 Apr 2013

Total posts 544

I personally think here that QF could upgrade a route that's currently running on a 747 (or on an A330, if the route goes full a couple of days after it starts selling tickets).

This might include SCL, HKG (the rest), Johannesburg (if BA runs a successful A380 then QF may also be successful running one),  or maybe even a SYD - PER flight to win over passengers from Virgin Australia before the A330 business suites roll out.

Of course, I'm talking about upgrading only one of these routes.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

SYD-PER is a nice idea. 

More realistic could be reinstating a 747 on the PER-SYD run that has been subbed out by the 380. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I think you are correct that it will replace a current route. I still think it'll be one of the US routes with the refurb 747's redeployed to take over of the segments of the non-refurb 747's.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 45

My guess is it will be Asian city, and I'm thinking SYD-NRT , 1) new free trade agreement 2) QF is more tied/aligned to JAL  than say Cathay or American 3) Jetstar Japan probably next to start up and 4) less competition on this route

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

NRT could work, but you would need to retime service as the current 747 sits around all day doing squat all... so there would be no point reducing downtime at LHR to have downtime at NRT. But it would allow 2 x 747 retirements and I think NRT has good loads. But I would suggest QF's relationship with AA is as close as QF/JAL... not such much Cathay though (unfortunately).

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

It would be quite nice if QF21 turned around at NRT and QF22 operated south as a day flight.

Add codeshares to JL771/772 and that gives a day flight and a night flight in both directions (instead of 1 north and 2 south night flights and 1 north day flight)

There has to be some logical reason why the aircraft sits at NRT for 17 hours between QF21 and QF22.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

Jetstar Japan has been operating since July 2012.

QF has more ties to AA then JL. There is a QF/AA Transpac JBA. QF and JL just have joint ownership in Jetstar Japan and codeshares via SIN.

I would very much like for a better partnership between JL and QF, even just codesharing on each others SYD-NRT flights, but it is doubtful the ACCC and IASC would allow it.

Pie in the sky perhaps - SYD/MEL to BOM/DEL..?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 763

They wouldn't find enough crew to staff it...

Indian crew of course...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Am I right in thinking that the only way to do this is that the arriving flight from MEL will then turn around and go back to SYD and vv in a big share and switch? So essentially it is a fleet of 6 being reduced to 5 for AUS-UK? 

Curly - not sure if you were replying to my comment above, but I should've stated more specifically; either SYD/MEL paired with either BOM/DEL. still wouldn't drag that pie any closer to the ground...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Mar 2014

Total posts 73

Nope sorry, it was in regards to the story in general about how the retime will reduce the AUS - LON fleet size from 6 down to 5. To me having an odd number will mean that a flight from MEL - LON will then go back to SYD and the flight arriving from SYD will go back to MEL etc.

But yes India is a good idea however QF might consider 1.3 billion people too small of a market, haha! 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

With the assumed times, based on the old QF29/30/31/32 LHR times (arrive/depart LHR around lunch), it would mean QF1 arrives early morning, departing as QF10 5-6 hours later, then QF9 lands ~1 hour after QF10 leaves before departing as QF2 late night.

ie QF1 arr ~0600
QF10 dep ~1230
QF9 arr ~1330
QF2 dep ~2230

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jan 2014

Total posts 9

Open up a fifth freedom flight out of DBX...? Another pie-in-the-sky, but still.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

Frankfurt! 

ssn
ssn

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jul 2011

Total posts 16

Time for QF to look for new destinations. Although BOM was previously serviced with 744, I think they should start something similar to AI. A triangular route to BOM. My take would be MEL-SYD-BOM. Code share this flight with 9W & get access to heaps of other Indian destinations. India recently lifted the ban on A380s. Also,QF can sell tickets for MEL-SYD & SYD-MEL leg of this flight. Business class passengers would love this. And QF can take the title for shortest A380 flight:).

rg
rg

24 Mar 2014

Total posts 14

syd/bom was a330 - don't need a380 to india - non stop daily a330 fine

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 39

Im flying to DFW return in Aug/Sep business and hope to god that it stays as a 747. Yeh its not an A380 but still my fav to fly in. I will be devastated if it changes to an ugly A380.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

probably the best option for Qantas is to wet lease the aircraft to BA or Emirates. 

They could do the Berlin - Dubai flight that Emirates cannot due to German issues as a QF flight in its own right. That would actually make a lot of sense.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

What routes does/could Qantas fly that would require the amount of seats of an A380 vs a 747 or smaller? There are routes I'd like a A380 on (NRT, SIN, KUL, ICN), but would they work?

 

Sooner or later, SCL, JNB, DFW and BNE-LAX are going to have to go to A380, 787 (if QF ends up getting those 789s and CASA lets them have a useful level of ETOPS) or 777 as more 747s get retired.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

NRT might work if you put an A330 on midweek?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Here are some ideas

MEL to SYD?

SYD to CBR? 

Brisbane does not have enough A380 gates spare to support another jumbo

I know the A380 is a bigger aircraft but hello qantas has lots of other planes just sitting on the ground "spare"

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Wrong,

3 A380 gates available at one time, plus remote gates.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

While the runway can handle an A380, the CBR terminal is not designed to accommodate them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

Who talked about CBR,,,,,,,i am talking BNE where the QF action is.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

This discussion highlights the need for the 787s that will give Qantas the flexibility and range to connect markets that cannot justify the size of an A380 or the costs of an ageing 747.

Better to offer more frequency in great product, than inconsistent standards in the mix of aircraft. So if scheduling allows use the spare A380 for HKG, and then sort out a proper business relationship with Cathay so it becomes a Dubai like hub. Junk the Jetstar HK idea to make it happen.

Upgrade the A330s for Asia, starting now, not December!

Then use the 787-9s to expand or improve network for DFW, India, SFO, Bris-LAX, Auckland-States; Seoul.

The Perth-Dubai suggestion is absolutely screaming out for attention. Amazing that a rapidly growing airport can handle so many passengers and none of them flying on the national carrier! If you can't win that one Qantas you aren't trying hard enough.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

I agree with every word. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

The markets you refer BNE/LAX and SYD/LAX and SYD/ DFW need A380,s badly to get revenue.There is so much money to be made on these sectors and S America,Get A380,s out of Asia...I want to fly QANTAS in 3years do you.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

I agree with Perth /Dubai but buddy QF can not compete and  they can not get the loads to do a  even do a 744 and forget about an A680

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1227

Resume A380 services on SYD-SIN!

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Considering the yield on Singapore is poor, this would not be a good idea.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

SIN is a route with weak yields because the offering is so spectacularly rubbish. With only a daily service ex-MEL and ex-BNE, double-daily ex-SYD, all on A330s with old J, how the hell d'you expect QFi to compete against SQ?

It's like trying to attack a tank with a kitchen knife.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I note the product difference, but given the amount of capacity to Singapore, even with a better product it is unlikely QF could increase yields much. If your loads are low, you are going to need to price low to stimulate demand. Putting more capacity into that situation is not what I would consider a good business pratice, especially as you are essentially reliant on O&D traffic and your competitor has an enormous network it can feed and has a good product (even after QF's upgrade - except for SQ regional product).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I'm not suggesting a massive ramp-up in capacity, but besides the A330 refurbishment I advocate, I would like to see an improvement in the schedules to SIN, because frankly, the schedule at the moment is rubbish.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Not disagreeing with you there. In fact an A380 would not serve those purposes.

I'd like to see double daily flights out of the east coast and perhaps a triple from syd. Then there is Perth... but I think even the 330's at that frequency would be too many seats for QF without a better network on the other end. A late night departure from SYD to SIN would be good but we would need SWZ before that can occur I think.

But at the moment, QF could spread their flights out better.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

They definitely could. MEL (QF 35) and BNE (QF 51) both need a later-morning departure, around 1030. I would like to see each get a second flight, preferably also daily; I'm leaning towards a near-midnight departure to form a red-eye outbound (forming a day flight inbound).

SYD should have a third flight. The current spread is rubbish; QF 81 is too early, and QF 5 is too late. I would shuffle it around to have departures at 1030, 1300 and 1530; forming the early overnight, late overnight and morning returns.

PER should have more than one daily flight. I would like to see one red-eye and at least one day flight each way; I'd prefer to use an A330 on the red-eyes and B737s on the day flights, but this is a tricky one from the diagram perspective.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 333

DFW would be more logical than lets say HKG due to capacity & range. 

The ideal plan should be:

Daily A380 Services  SYD - DFW - SYD 

Daily B474 - 400 SYD - SFO - SYD

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 333

DFW would be more logical than lets say HKG due to capacity & range. 

The ideal plan should be:

Daily A380 Services  SYD - DFW - SYD 

Daily B474 - 400 SYD - SFO - SYD

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I hope QF doesn't fly a B474-400 to SFO :-)

In all seriousness, if QF returns to SFO (and I doubt that is anytime soon) it has to be with a fuel efficient plane. Flying a 747 (as much as I like them) will not compete it against 777 or 787's

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2012

Total posts 43

Im so sorry, but this is really bugging me. Can you please display a picture of a current livery? This isnt current, in fact QF's oldest a380 (Nacy Bird Walton) is in the current scheme. Come on guys, this livery has been around for years now...

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

I am curious as to why it matters so much?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2012

Total posts 43

because it doesn't look professional

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2012

Total posts 43

I dont think what I said was unreasonable, but it really should be shown in it's current form.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

Unfortunately, I shall be the bearer of bad news.... it is unreasonable and/or irrelevant.

If the article was stating this is what the plane looks like now, then it would be misleading... but its just an piece about about A380's. The average punter on the street would struggle to tell the difference between QF's old and new livery in any case.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

This is an article on a possible new A380 service on a site for business travellers. This is not a planespotter thread created to froth at the mouth over liveries. There is a time and place for that, but this isn't it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2012

Total posts 43

Well "hutch" I apologize for my attention to detail

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Apr 2013

Total posts 47

What about BNE- DXB?

Also Qantas desperately need smothing like a 777 or 787 to replace thoses A333's.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

The HKG A380 rotation takes 21 hours. The 1 aircraft used on that route could do it daily. What is that A380 doing on the days QF127/128 is operated by a 747?

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

19 Apr 2014

Total posts 46

As suggested previously, SYD-NRT IMHO would be the most suitable for the A380. While DFW is a good option, NRT can be done in <24hours (since SYD-NRT is only ~30mins longer than HKG each sector). If the departure from syd is kept at night but from tokyo it is turned around as a day flight (Arriving SYD 6-8 pm), one plane would suffice.

ICN also has potential (again with the new FTA established) although i think it would be risky to start with a new international route on a superjumbo. Same goes with SFO - while QF would blow UA out of the water, an A380 might not garner the load factors to make it economically viable.

Well, doesn't the can of worms open up as always ...

More to the question ... what will they do with another 8 of them?

QF would surely be better to starting thinking about expansion and new route development than always looking to get smaller and smaller. The 787-9 is the key to this one as it would open up new routes and markets;

- San Francisco (again)

- Vancouver and Toronto (again)

- Seoul (is that again too?)

- Chicago?

- More frequency to HKG, SIN and Tokyo

- More efficient DFW operations

- Direct into Rome and Athens (not via Dubai)

- I am sure that there are many more routes that a cost-efficient, not over-sized aircraft can be used to expand the airline not make it smaller

Oh, and then sell the A380's and get 777-9X for LHR and LAX

Wow, what a great airline we could have then?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

By the time they get those last 8, they'll be ready to retire the last of the 747s. The A380s will be needed for the JNB, SCL, BNE-LAX, DFW and JFK routes (assuming they are still around).

aow
aow

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Feb 2012

Total posts 17

how about a fantasy route of mine syd/mel - Honolulu - toronto

even syd/mel - Vancouver 

I know Air canada's ability to play well with friends is limited (ie non exsistant) but another way into NA without going through LAX  would be HUGE!

Please Please Please put it on the Perth-London flight so I don't have to fly Emirates


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