Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is still confident in the Airbus A380’s future and expects the carrier’s “Project Sunrise” ultra long-haul flights to kick off in three years’ time.
Although the Australian airline’s entire A380 fleet remains parked in California’s Mojave Desert, Joyce told a Eurocontrol audience that “there are going to be opportunities to deploy those aircraft”, reported FlightGlobal.
Joyce said deploying A380s on certain high traffic long-haul routes is more practical than using other aircraft in the Qantas fleet. Hubs such as London Heathrow, for instance, have a limited number of departure and arrival slots, while Los Angeles, another popular Qantas destination, is subject to strict night curfews.
“If you’ve ever been in LA between 10pm and midnight, you see six or seven Qantas aircraft departing for Australia, because it’s the only time that works with curfews,” said Joyce, according to FlightGlobal.
“So, instead of flying multiple frequencies right on top of each other, an A380 that’s fully or nearly fully written down, if it generates cash, will absolutely work.”
The airline also confirmed it will make a decision later this year on the number of A350-1000s it will order as part of Project Sunrise. The programme will see Qantas operate ultra long-haul flights from Australia to destinations as far as New York and London. It is reportedly eyeing a 2024 launch for the ultra long-haul flights, or one year later than originally planned.