Qantas’ flagship the Airbus A380 superjumbo will return to service in January, three months ahead of schedule and almost two years since last flying commercially.
The national carrier ferried one A380 from storage in November for crew training and as an operational spare and this flexibility is now needed to replace flying that was scheduled to be performed by the airline’s 787s.
About 70 Qantas 787 pilots are Queensland-based and are required to undertake 14 days isolation after each international service, reducing their availability to operate.
From January 11 the Sydney-Los Angeles service will be reduced from a daily 787 service to three weekly A380 services and one weekly 787 service.
The Melbourne-London route will be reduced from daily 787 services to up to four weekly services while the Melbourne-Los Angeles service reduced from four weekly 787 services to three.
Qantas said that the Queensland Government has indicated it will relax restrictions on international travel when 90 percent of the state is double vaccinated, currently estimated to occur in late January, enabling 787 flying to normalize.
After being maintained in storage for almost two years, the first A380 returned to Australia in early November and has since undergone extensive operational maintenance checks.
In addition to many hours spent in the airline’s simulators, the crew will shortly undertake refresher training on board before entering service on the A380 in the New Year.
Additional A380 aircraft will progressively return to Australia in early 2022 for maintenance checks and crew training before being returned to service.