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A Qantas Airbus A380 is currently being scrapped at Victorville

The pandemic has seen the rapid death of the Airbus A380with several airlines around the world storing and even retiring their fleet of superjumbos at the height of the health crisis. Qantas was one such airline, having sent its Airbus A380s to desert storage in the United States for an extended period. Qantas has always said the A380 would return, and it hasbut for two of the giant jumbos, the pandemic ended rather unceremoniously.

Goodbye OQF

In Victorville, California, the first Qantas Airbus A380 sudden scrapping. The parts will be used as spares to be kept at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and Australia. The unfortunate big bird was registered as VH-OQF, named “Sir Charles Kingsford Smith”. While the big bird has been in Victorville since July 2020, in his time with Qantas he has created lasting memories.

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Aged just over 13 years, VH-OQF was the sixth aircraft ordered by the Australian flag carrier on March 6, 2001. It was the third of the ‘Wave 2’ aircraft to have the redesigned electrical harness fitted and powered . It rolled off the Airbus production line as “F-WWSA” on 18 February 2009 and was accepted by Qantas on January 8, 2010. The delivery flight from Toulouse to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport was operated as QF6028, and it made its first commercial flight from SYD to LAX as QF11 on January 17, 2010.

VH-OQF was also the first of Airbus The A380 fleet will receive the all-new “Silver Roo” livery, with painting done by Emirates Aircraft Appearance Center in Dubai. It operated several long-haul routes for Qantas, such as the SYD-DFW and SYD-SIN-LHR routes. The last revenue service for the aircraft was QF8 from DWF to SYD, and the aircraft was flown to LAX just days after being retired from service.

The next superjumbo in line

Qantas had 12 Airbus A380s in its mighty fleet. As the rebound in travel demand exceeds expectations in the post-pandemic era, the airline plans to keep just 10 of its superjumbos. The VH-OQF being already discardedthe next would be VH-OQE, the fifth aircraft ordered by Qantas on 6 March 2001.

Similar to its scrapped sister, VH-OQE is just over 13 years old, named ‘Lawrence Hargrave’ and was the second of the ‘Wave 2’ aircraft, rolling off the production line on February 6, 2009. The aircraft had operated its first revenue service as QF31 for the SYD-SIN-LHR route in December 2009 before operating its last revenue service as QF11 from SYD to LAX and as QF94 from LAX to MEL.


It’s unclear when VH-OQE was scrapped, but it will undoubtedly be a sad moment for avgeeks around the world when it does. Photo: Qantas

And then there were 10

Of the 10 remaining Airbus A380s at Qantas fleet, not all have yet returned to active service as the Australian carrier is cautious in planning its future long-haul schedules. A small handful of aircraft have been brought back to operate in the SYD-LAX sector.

Another iconic comeback will be along flagship route SYD-SIN-LHR from June 19, which will undoubtedly see more returns of Airbus A380s to their former home routes. The one world The member airline is highlighting the use of five aircraft by mid-2022, and by the end of this year Qantas is expected to reinstate the MEL-LAX route, which would likely see at least two more Airbus A380s return in the sky.

The scrap line

The Airbus A380s, while being the first aircraft type to be retired due to COVID, are making a comeback. Qantas’ decision to retain the majority and return them to active service is a good one given growing passenger demand, particularly on its long-haul routes. However, with Project Sunrise and the A350 on the horizon, it won’t be long before the almighty superjumbos see eternal retirement.

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