Featured image: Tony Bordelais/Airways

Qantas Oldest Airbus A380 Returns to Service 

DALLAS — Qantas (QF) 's oldest Airbus A380 aircraft has returned to service after a lengthy period in storage.

The Airbus A380-800, with registration VH-OQA, flew back to Sydney (SYD) to resume scheduled operations with the carrier after being in storage in Abu Dhabi (AUH). The aircraft had been stored in AUH for over a year before returning to Australia on April 5.

The fifteen-and-a-half-year-old aircraft landed in SYD on April 6 after a 13-hour flight. There were no passengers on board. Shortly after arriving, the widebody aircraft was deployed on one of QF’s scheduled flights. Within hours of its arrival, VH-OQA set off on its first long-haul flight, operating flight QF11 from SYD to Los Angeles (LAX).

Like many other airlines, QF is battling to meet passenger demand with its current fleet. The airline has, therefore, decided to bring back aircraft previously sent to storage facilities to meet the growing demand for passenger flights. 

Qantas A380. Photo: Ryan Scottini/Airways
Qantas A380. Photo: Ryan Scottini/Airways

Increasing Passenger Demand 

While thought to be obsolete and no longer fit for purpose, many airlines retired their Airbus A380 aircraft during the COVID-19 pandemic due to reduced demand for flights. However, with global air travel once again on the rise, some airlines are bringing back the A380 superjumbo to accommodate increased passenger flight demand.

Qantas will increase capacity on several routes using larger aircraft like the A380. Hence, there is a need for aircraft that can carry more passengers. QF will deploy an Airbus A380 for its flights to Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa this year to add capacity to the route. On September 30, the A380 will replace QF’s Boeing 787-9, which currently operates these flights. 

Qantas Airbus a380-800. Photo: Joao Santoro/Airways
Qantas Airbus A380-800. Photo: Joao Santoro/Airways

Airbus A380: VH-OQA

The aircraft was delivered to QF in September 2008 from Toulouse (TLS) via Singapore (SIN). On November 4, 2010, while operating a scheduled flight, the Airbus A380 suffered an uncontained failure in one of its four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. 

The failure occurred over the Riau Islands, Indonesia, four minutes after take-off from SIN. After holding for almost two hours to assess the situation, the aircraft landed successfully in SIN.