Qantas stated an exact date to resume A380 service on its Los Angeles routes is yet to be set, but the carrier has prepared a scheduled with the intention of resuming the services within weeks (Associated Press/Reuters, 05-Jan-2011). The carrier reportedly hopes to resume the services on 17-Jan-2011, but this is yet to be confirmed. The plans come as Rolls-Royce finalises its investigation into the cause of the 04-Nov-2010 incident, in which a Trent 900 engine exploded in a Qantas aircraft mid-flight. Qantas will need to receive approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) before the services can be resumed. The carrier is yet to commence talks with CASA over the plans. Qantas plans to take delivery of a seventh A380 in mid-Jan-2010 and its eighth in early Feb-2011. It also expects to resume operations of a third A380 this month.
Qantas yet to announce resumption of A380 Los Angeles service
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Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.
Emirates-Qantas JV expands as partnerships become more intricate, while some airlines go it alone
Qantas and Emirates are again evolving global airline alliances and partnerships. Four years after announcing their landmark joint venture, Qantas in late 2016 is expected to disclose additions to the way it serves Europe in partnership with Emirates. The possible changes – a new nonstop London flight, reintroducing an Asian stopover – may seem incremental. There is a significant impact to the many airlines competing in the Europe-Australia market, but the underlying relevance is global.
The expansion of the JV would not be possible without the increased comfort that Emirates and Qantas feel toward each other, and their ability to have intricate models for handling the increasingly complicated partnership and number of hubs involved. JVs are no longer in a binary classification of existence or absence; there is a scale from rudimentary to near-consolidation.
As JVs like Qantas-Emirates become more sophisticated, the basic JVs – or even airlines without – are dearly lacking. There has been a profusion of JVs in recent years, with more on the way, but they have tended to be confined. Partners need to be more comfortable with each other in order to add additional airlines and markets, later consolidating as they stitch together individual partnerships.