AviationQantas chief outlines the challenges facing airlines as travel resumes

This is what it takes to get just one A380 back in the air

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Alan Jones: “We were facing an 11-week fight for survival during the pandemic.”
Alan Jones: “We were facing an 11-week fight for survival during the pandemic.”

If you wondered what it takes to get an A380 back in the air after time in pandemic-enforced hibernation, Qantas chief Alan Joyce has provided an insight.

Qantas has stored its 12 A380s in California’s Mojave Desert and, as travel business picks up, he needs them back in operation.

Speaking in Sydney this week, Joyce said, “Waking up a single A380 is 4500 hours, or two months’ work.

“It requires 10 engineers to work for two months in the desert. Its 22 wheels and 16 brakes require replacing, its oxygen cylinders, fire extinguishers, Wi-Fi, all of it requires replacing.

“All of this is just to get one aircraft out of the desert,” Joyce said.

Joyce has also given an insight into the precarious state of the airline’s finances in the early days of the pandemic when travel came to a standstill.

In March 2020, the CEO was receiving weekly reports from his finance team who warned the airline’s reserves were dwindling.

“There was no vaccine, there was no hope. We were staring into 11 weeks of survival,” Joyce said.

Like other airlines, Qantas is making a strong recovery from the pandemic – it has forecast an underlying profit before tax of between A$1.2 billion (US$760m) and A$1.3 billion for the first six months of its financial year – but Joyce said supply issues are still holding airlines back from a full recovery.

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