Qantas A380 soars back to Sydney after gathering dust for more than 500 days

After more than 500 days gathering dust in storage first in Los Angeles and then in Dresden in Germany,  a Qantas A380 superjumbo has roared back across Australian skies for the first time since 2020.

Key points:The A380 was mothballed in a hangar in Los Angeles before being moved to Dresden in AugustQantas CEO Alan Joyce says high vaccination rates helped get the A380 back in the skiesMr Joyce says there has been a surge in demand for domestic and international flights

The Hudson Fysh was one of thousands of planes that were grounded at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as borders around the world slammed shut and the bulk of international travel ground to a halt.

Billions of dollars of mothballed aircraft were parked in hot, dry regions around the world, including Australia's Alice Springs.

But after Australia lifted its international travel ban last week, the renewed demand for flights has seen Qantas bring the A380 out of storage earlier than planned.

A Qantas plane enters a hanger
The Qantas A380 arrived at Sydney Airport after being grounded because of the COVID-19 pandemic.(ABC News: Alison Xiao)

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said high vaccination rates had been invaluable to getting the A380 back in the skies.

"Literally six months ago we didn't think they'd be back until the earliest at the end of 2023, that's how much things have moved in Australia, how much the vaccine roll-out has actually helped," he said.

He said there had been a huge surge in both domestic and international bookings.

"When the borders reopened on November 1, we had to add 20 flights to London there was so much demand.

"In the last two weeks we've had 500,000 domestic bookings compared to 20,000 in a two week period in August, that's a 25-fold increase ," he said.

People greet the arrival of the Qantas A380
The A380 was given a warm welcome when it landed in Sydney.(ABC News: Alison Xiao)

While it seems Australians are keen to take to the skies once again, not all countries will welcome them with quarantine-free travel.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the growing list of options for fully vaccinated travellers included the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Italy, Greece, Germany and South Africa.

Thailand and Singapore have also both reopened their borders, while those looking for a tropical escape relatively close to home can go to Fiji from December 1 — although travellers will have to self-isolate for two days on arrival.

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Taking Off: What it takes to get planes back in the air

Posted 9 Nov 20219 Nov 2021Tue 9 Nov 2021 at 6:48am, updated 10 Nov 202110 Nov 2021Wed 10 Nov 2021 at 3:52amShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp

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