Qantas Airways will end its year-round A380 operation between Sydney and Hong Kong this September.
The Flying Kangaroo currently serves the city non-stop with five weekly superjumbo and two weekly four-class B747-400 services.
These will soon be replaced by a daily three-class B747-400 service. The change is being made in order for Qantas to upgrade its Dallas flights to the A380.
However, the airline will still operate the A380, without a first cabin, on the route during "peak seasons".
As a result, there will be a complete absence of first class on the Sydney to Hong Kong route from September 29. Currently, both jetliners offer 14 seats in first class — a total of 98 weekly.
In addition, capacity loss will also be felt across other cabin classes. The number of weekly business class seats will fall to 406, down from 448, while economy class will also see a loss of 728 seats. However, the number of premium economy seats will increase by 28.
It is likely that the three-class B747 are only going to be deployed for a temporary period, as the airline may deploy the A330 on the Sydney to Hong Kong route, once the aircraft has been retrofitted with the new seats unveiled last year (see news, August 2013).
In addition, the Flying Kangaroo intends to expedite the retirement of its fleet of non-reconfigured B747s, as part of its A$2 billion (US$1.7 billion) cost reduction programme (see news, February 27).