Qantas is to bring forward the return of its Airbus A380 superjumbo to passenger service by several months, to help ease pressure on B787 crew availability as a result of Covid-19 isolation requirements.

The flag carrier had previously announced that it would resume A380 flights between Sydney and Los Angeles in April 2022, but this has now been moved forward to January 11, according to a report by The Sydney Morning Hearld.

The publication has obtained an internal memo from Qantas’ head of base operations Doug Alley, which confirms that the superjumbo will operate three flights per week between the two cities, replacing B787 aircraft.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that around 70 Qantas B787 pilots are based in Queensland, where they are required to undertake 14 days of isolation after each international service, reducing their availability to operate flights.

The report states that rostering the A380 onto the Sydney-Los Angeles route will free capacity for the B787 Dreamliners to operate other services, as “crew in most other states are not subjected to the same limitations”.

The Sydney Morning Herald quotes the memo as stating:

“We appreciate the 380 return is now some months earlier than first anticipated, and so our focus will be on supporting you in training, regaining your recency and preparing you for the return to work.”

The publication has also obtained confirmation from a Qantas spokesperson, who said that one of the carrier’s A380s had been brought back from the US early, adding that “Having the aircraft and the crew ready to go means we’re able to plug some of the gap created by having so many 787 pilots stuck with quarantine rules”.

The report states that the Sydney-Los Angeles route will temporarily reduce from a daily B787 services to a thrice-weekly A380 service.

It also states that Qantas’ Melbourne-London route will temporarily decrease in frequency from a daily B787 service to four flights per week.