Jamie Freed and Jill Gralow
SYDNEY (Reuters), Qantas Airways Ltd engineers prepare for the airline to increase international flights starting November 1, when Sydney will open to residents and citizens with full vaccinations.
Except for its Airbus SE (OTC) A380 super-jumbos which are still stored at the Mojave Desert, California, the majority of Qantas international aircraft has been flying limited cargo and repatriation flight operations.
John Walker (head of line maintenance), stated, “What we do it is to have them on some of a partial-time schedule so they’ve been doing one day each week rather than seven.”
Australia issued strict rules regarding entry to Australia in March 2020. They prohibited residents from departing the country without prior permission. All arrivals were required to stay at a quarantine hotel for 2 weeks. Qantas also stopped regular international passenger flights.
On Thursday, Qantas’ engineering team was at Sydney Airport to check brakes and tires and do minor maintenance on the A330 aircrafts.
Walker explained that “for this aircraft, in deep sleep, it would take more than 1,000 man hours and full crews 12 to 15 to wake it up.” These wake-ups were started many months ago.
Qantas’ engineers are located in California and regularly drive two hours to Mojave Desert, to check on A380 fleet.
He said that the desert climate is much dryer than Alice Springs, central Australia. This was where Singapore Airlines (OTC:) Ltd, and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways, (OTC:) Ltd, had stored their planes.
Qantas plans to restore five of 12 A380s for London and Los Angeles flight services starting July 20,22.
London and Los Angeles will also be the first cities to receive flights departing from Sydney in November 1. It will then begin flights to Japan, Singapore Fiji, and Vancouver six weeks later.
It is an important milestone for an airline, which has been doing very little international flight since March 2020. In addition to losing A$20 Billion ($15.08 Billion) due to the pandemic, it also marks this major milestone.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce spoke at an industry conference Thursday. He said that they are seeing the light at the other end of the tunnel. “We can see that there’s a huge demand for people to plan their travels next year.”
($1 = 1.3264 Australian dollars)
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