Qantas has confirmed that its flagship Airbus A380s are being withdrawn from the Sydney-Hong Kong route as of September 29 this year.
The daily QF127/128 service will be flown by an older Boeing 747-400 instead, with the A380 being used to launch Qantas’ new superjumbo service between Sydney and Dallas.
However, a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that the Airbus 380 would return to the Sydney-Hong Kong route “from 11 December 2014 to 26 January 2015 to accommodate the seasonal demand.”
This seasonal superjumbo service will not see a reduction in any other A380 flights, the spokesperson said.
“Between flight patterning and no A380s in maintenance at this time we are able to facilitate the A380 Hong Kong schedule.”
As previously reported, Qantas won’t operate first class on the A380 flights to Hong Kong, opting instead to treat the superjumbo’s 12 first class suites as a primo business class cabin reserved for top-tier frequent flyers.
Previous | Qantas will no longer offer first class tickets on its Sydney-Hong Kong flights from later this year as the airline shuffles its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 fleet to cater for its new superjumbo service between Sydney and Dallas.
Qantas currently flies its flagship A380 between Sydney and Hong Kong five days a week, from Thursday to Monday, with the Boeing 747 rostered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with first class cabins available on both those aircraft.
However, from September 29 – the same day that the A380 makes its Dallas debut – Qantas has withdrawn the sale of first class seats to and from Hong Kong.
“We’re currently finalising the mix of A380s and B747s flying between Sydney and Hong Kong in order to facilitate the upgrade to Dallas services” a Qantas spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.
The changes will also see Qantas replace the older Boeing 747 currently used for Hong Kong flights with one of its reconfigured versions with the dedicated first class cabin in the jumbo’s nose replaced by more of the Skybed II lie-flat business class seats, “meaning no First Class cabin” the spokesperson explained.
A380 flights factored on “seasonal demand”
Qantas has not revealed the fate of its flagship Airbus A380 on the Hong Kong route, but has promised “more detail on this in the next few weeks.”
“As well as aircraft availability and patterning, the other factor we’re looking at in determining this mix is seasonal demand. Given the capacity difference, the A380 would make more sense at peak times.
However, even when the Airbus A380 does fly between Sydney and Hong Kong, Qantas passengers won’t be able to buy tickets for first class travel.
With the first class-free Boeing 747 being “the aircraft we’ll be using most of the time on this route, we won’t be offering First Class on the A380 when it does on operate to Hong Kong” the Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.
Instead, top-tier frequent flyers booked into business class will find themselves ensconced in the superjumbo’s luxe first class cabin.
They’ll still receive business class meals and service, but will enjoy them from the comfy confines of 14 first class suites.
“Seats in the First cabin will be allocated to our most Frequent Flyers travelling in Business” the Qantas spokesperson said, “We already do this on our non-reconfigured B747s, which have a First cabin.”
Qantas’ sole competitor on the Sydney-Hong Kong route is Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific with four daily flights between the cities, although none of these offer first class.
Virgin Atlantic axed its Sydney-Hong Kong service earlier this month, with the Richard Branson-backed airline describing the route as “no longer considered profitable” due to “increasing costs and a challenging economic environment.”
Source : Australian Business Traveller