MIAMI – Qantas Airways (QF) is returning to the skies in full force after shutting down nearly all of its worldwide network for more than a year.
On the strength of the success of Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination program, the carrier is adding Delhi to its itinerary, speeding up the return of its Airbus A380s, and resuming flights to seven long-haul destinations weeks and months sooner than scheduled.
“Australia is en route to be one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, and that means planes [can] get back in the sky,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday during a joint press conference with the airline to announce the flight schedule expansion.
Qantas Schedule Expansion
From December 6 through March, the oneworld alliance carrier will fly three times weekly with an Airbus A330 from Sydney to Delhi, its first scheduled Indian route since terminating Mumbai flights in 2012. Bangkok, Fiji, Johannesburg, Phuket, and Singapore flights will all resume weeks ahead of schedule.
In detail, QF will resume service to Singapore on November 23, Fiji on December 7, Johannesburg on January 5, Phuket on January 12, and Bangkok on January 14, following the resumption of London and Los Angeles flights. The restoration of flights to Bali, one of Australia’s most popular international destinations, is currently being discussed with Indonesian officials.
Flights to Honolulu, New Zealand, Tokyo, and Vancouver were set to resume in mid-December, according to prior announcements.
In addition, due to high demand for its Sydney-Los Angeles flights, which will resume on November 1, Qantas will return its A380s to the route in April, three months ahead of schedule.
Qantas Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliners
On December 25, Qantas expects its first A380 to return to Australia from storage. Two aircraft will re-enter service in April, with five more scheduled to fly by November 2022. By early 2024, the airline hopes to have all ten of its A380s back in operation.
The 787s that Qantas is hoping to get early were initially planned to arrive during the airline’s fiscal year 2023, which runs from July 2022 to June 2023. The planes are part of the airline’s full backlog of 787s.
According to airlineweekly.com, the airline is in talks with Boeing about taking delivery of three stored 787-9s from April as well.
Further Comments from Qantas CEO
“Demand has been massive,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who spoke at the event with Morrison, of the airline’s London and Los Angeles flights that both resume at the beginning of November. “In a few hours, a large number of those flights sold out.”
Joyce added that QF has seen a “phenomenal reaction” from travelers to the federal and state border reopenings in Australia.
Featured image: Qantas VH-EBM Airbus A330-200. Photo: Noah Pitkin/Airways