Photo: Aero Icarus

LONDON – During the IATA Annual General Meeting in Seoul, Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce confirmed fleet retirement plans for both its Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A380s.

According to Joyce, the airline is planning to retire its last seven 747-400s by next year, and the Airbus A380s by 2030.

As of today, the airline operates one 22.7-year-old Boeing 747-400, and six 16.4-year-old 747-400(ER) aircraft, all of which will be replaced with “additional six Boeing 787s,” as noted by Joyce.

The airline has also added domestic 747 flights between Sydney and Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne—a remarkable opportunity for passengers to enjoy short flights on the retiring Queen of the Skies.

As per Routes Online, the new 747 flights are scheduled as follows:

Sydney – Adelaide 
QF743 SYD1840 – 2015ADL 744 23NOV19
QF736 ADL1235 – 1500SYD 744 25NOV19

Sydney – Brisbane
QF524 SYD1200 – 1230BNE 744 09NOV19
QF529 BNE1205 – 1440SYD 744 11NOV19

Sydney – Melbourne 
QF417 SYD0830 – 1005MEL 744 31DEC19
QF439 SYD1400 – 1535MEL 744 15FEB20 
QF438 MEL1400 – 1525SYD 744 01JAN20
QF400 MEL0600 – 0725SYD 744 17FEB20

Next year’s retirement of the Boeing 747 fleet does not leave Qantas without Jumbo planes. The Airbus A380s will continue to be in the fleet for another ten years. The airline plans to retrofit its interiors to withstand an additional decade soaring the skies.

The A380 Retiring By 2030

“We are reconfiguring the A380s as we speak. It will take a year to reconfigure all twelve of them. We are committed to operating the aircraft for another up to ten years,” Joyce said.

The airline’s A380s average a short 9.8 years of age, which at the time of retirement will have the same age average of its retiring 747-400s.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will replace the 747 routes to the likes of Honolulu, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, and Tokyo-Haneda.

Interestingly, the airline has scheduled a one-time charter A380 service from Sydney to Orlando, Florida via Los Angeles on January 19, 2020.

Replacements for the A380, Project Sunrise

It remains unclear which kind of aircraft will come to replace the Airbus A380. However, the airline’s recent intentions to link Sydney with London with a nonstop flight (dubbed Project Sunrise) is pushing Boeing and Airbus to develop a range upgrade to either the 777X or A350-1000ULR, which would allow operating the world’s longest flight, aimed at 22 hours.

777X Paint Hangar Rollout

Currently, the A350-900ULR operates the world’s longest flight, an 18-hour journey between Singapore and Newark with Singapore Airlines.

The Boeing 777X’s first test flight is expected to take place next month. It is expected that Boeing will come with a ultra long range solution shortly.

It is understood that Qantas will make a decision on this project in August after the best and final offers are offered by the two manufacturers.