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Qantas struggles for space for A380’s

Spaces at specific maintenance sites have started to run out as airlines race to restart the superjumbos.

According to Aerotime, the return of Qantas’ Airbus A380 aircraft has caused some problems for the national airline of Australia.

The airline acknowledged in a statement that scheduling issues with its Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) services are delaying the reactivation of the super jumbo aircraft, adding that a full fleet return of its A380s may not occur until “early 2025.”

slow resumption of service

Qantas is already rushing to increase its fleet to satisfy capacity demands as Australia’s aviation revival gains momentum. Although just six A380s are now in use, that number may not change for some time.

As of February 2023, Qantas had removed nine A380s from storage. The massive maintenance requirements for the quad jets are also massive. The sudden influx of airlines reactivating the superjumbos has constrained the carrier’s maintenance plans, even though A380 MRO facilities were already in short supply before the pandemic.

In order to concentrate on its A380 MRO, Qantas uses two facilities: its own $30 million maintenance facility at Los Angeles (LAX), which also serves as a hub for its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and the state-owned Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies in the Emirati capital for more extensive repairs and overhauls.

The flag carrier of Abu Dhabi, Etihad, also uses the MRO facility there. Etihad has announced plans to reactivate its 10-strong A380 fleet through 2023, which will put pressure on Qantas’ efforts.

Notwithstanding the carrier’s initial expectation for a complete restoration of its A380 fleet by the end of the year, the shortage of MRO slots has forced Qantas to extend the timetable by two years.

According to CEO Alan Joyce, “every maintenance facility in the world is highly packed because every airline is trying to get their aircraft back up and running.” the difficulties in the supply chain

Qantas is experiencing fleet delays in addition to its new A380 delays as a result of supply chain concerns caused by Airbus and Boeing delaying delivery deadlines.

Earlier this month, the airline declared it will buy five “mid-life” Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft to support its services to Western Australia in an effort to address potential capacity issues.

Moreover, Qantas said that it would exercise options on nine additional Airbus A220-300 jets for its domestic network, bringing the total number of these incredibly economical narrowbody planes ordered to 29.

Added Joyce

We’ve been informed that some of our deliveries would be delayed by up to six months. “Aircraft manufacturers are experiencing the same supply chain bottlenecks as many other businesses.

We must identify more measures to increase capacity in the short and medium terms when you consider the delays and the ongoing increase in travel demand that we are witnessing.

existing A380 fleet

Following shortly behind VH-return OQB’s to passenger service in January 2022 were five additional A380s over the course of the year. The high-demand routes operated by Qantas predominantly by the quad jets include Sydney (SYD) to Hong Kong (HKG), which is planned to launch in March, and Sydney (SYD) to London Heathrow (LHW) via Singapore (SIN).

The most recent A380 to be reactivated, VH-OQI, took off from Victorville (VCV) in January and then dotted between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi (AUH), with a brief stopover at London Heathrow to conduct final maintenance inspections. Although early plans called for VH-OQA to be added to the fleet in mid-December 2022, the aircraft has been parked in Abu Dhabi since November.

At Abu Dhabi, VH-OQC is still in storage. After spending two months at the UAE airport for a cabin makeover, VH-OQL made its way back to Sydney earlier this month. The aircraft has performed many test flights out of Sydney, however it has not yet started up again for actual customer flights.

Since then, two aircraft have been retired or removed from service, leaving Qantas’ A380 fleet at just 10. In July 2022, Victorville demolished the 12-year-old VH-OQF. Despite still being listed by ch-aviation as a “stored” part of Qantas’ fleet, VH-OQE, which has likewise been kept indefinitely in California since 2020, is probably the next to go.

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