Qantas Airways will begin deploying the Airbus A380 on its Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth route. The superjumbo will replace the incumbent Boeing 747 from September 2014.
According to the airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce, the move is the result of several scheduling changes that are designed to unlock more flying time. In addition, the move is consistent with the group’s cost reduction program – first announced in February (see here), which will see the accelerated retirement of less fuel-efficient aircraft such as the B747 and B767.
“As part of our strategy to build a stronger Qantas, we’re reducing the amount of time our domestic and international fleet spend on the ground,” said Joyce.
“Aircraft are one of our biggest fixed costs and maximising the amount of time they spend in the air is good news for our customers and for Qantas – especially when it comes to the A380.
The deployment of the superjumbo onto the Dallas/Fort Worth route has been made possible due to Qantas’ retimed A380 services between Melbourne and London via Dubai.
“This schedule change unlocks more A380 flying time that we can use on the Dallas route, and now offers four times the number of onward connections to Europe because of the new arrival time of the Melbourne flight into Dubai,” added Joyce.
In particular, flight QF10 will be retimed to depart London at 1330 rather than the current 2250, which will provide a nine-hour window for the airline to use for rotating its aircraft between cities and launching the services to Dallas.
Additional adjustments will be made to the mix of A380s and B747s flying on the Sydney-Hong Kong route in order to facilitate the upgrade to Dallas services.
The superjumbo also offers superior range compared to the B747 which, according to the airline, will enable the aircraft to fly directly to Sydney for the return leg, rather than requiring a stopover in Brisbane. However, the trade-off is that Qantas will only fly the route six times per week (every day except Tuesday) as opposed to the current daily operation by the B747. Still, this represents a net increase of seats on the route by more than 10 per cent per week.
However, perhaps the most significant difference will be the addition of first class to the route. Qantas’ A380 offers 14 suites in first, which is not featured on the three-class (business, premium economy, economy) B747. In addition, the superjumbo spots 64 seats in business, 35 in premium economy, and 371 in economy. This represents an increase of eight seats in business and 96 in economy. However, premium economy seats will be decreased by five.
The reduction in service will mean that whilst the route will benefit from having a total of 84 first class seats per week, capacity for business and premium economy will decrease by eight and 75 respectively. Capacity on economy will however be boosted by 301 seats per week.
For more information, visit www.qantas.com.au