Qantas is following in the footsteps of Singapore Airlines (see news, April 3) and will drop several A380 services into London next month.
The flights being axed are those which operate between Dubai and London Heathrow.
The Australian airline will cancel flight QF10 between London and Dubai on May 12, May 19 and May 28, while flight QF1 from Dubai to London will be cancelled on May 13, May 20 and May 29.
Stephen Thompson, Qantas' head of international sales, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "What the market will notice is Qantas international becoming more commercially nimble, which is a reflection of the ultra-competitive environment we're in."
May and June tend to be slack months for travel, falling as they do between Easter and the summer peak, nevertheless this cancelling of flights is a relatively new trend and is not being undertaken by every carrier.
Reader feedback suggests that while Qantas can fill the sectors between Australia and Dubai, it faces difficulty filling seats on the final leg to London. Some reports suggest that the Dubai to London flights are running half-empty.
This is because many passengers are disembarking in Dubai and switching to Emirates for their onward flights to mainland Europe, Scandinavia and so on.
And Qantas has not had the success it anticipated in filling seats between Dubai and London, presumably because of the highly competitive nature of this route.
It had been rumoured that Qantas would axe more Dubai to London flights in its recent round of cutbacks (see news, February 27) but the London route was spared — until today.
However, Qantas says it remains committed to operating a double-daily A380 services into London for the future.