MIAMI – Qantas Airways (QF) will only retain six aircraft with modified cabins of its 12 A380 fleet after the COVID-19 crisis ends, according to several sources.

The aircraft is used for operations to/from Sydney to/from Los Angeles, to London with a stop in Singapore and Dallas, and to/from Melbourne to/from Los Angeles.

A380 retirement implications for QF

With the demand going down on Asian destinations, such as Hong Kong and Tokyo, QF is planning to replace some of the A380 that would be operated on those routes with its fleet of Dreamliners and A330.

According to reports, just the aircraft with cabin refurbishments including one or two that are usually out of service due to related updates will continue flying.

The move accelerates the expected withdraw of the type by 2030 announced in mid-2019. At the time, QF CEO Alan Joyce said that the company had committed to operating the aircraft for up to ten years.

The airline has already cut capacity in Asia, but the implied operations with Airbus may extend further the crisis, as the carrier’s Project Sunrise for ultra-long-haul operations was delayed due to the extension of the selection of 12 A350-1000ULR throughout 2020.

The project initiative was also meant as a replacement for the airline’s A380 fleet. With the reduction of its A380 fleet after the crisis passes, Qantas is compensating for the project delay in lieu of the complete withdrawal of the type.