Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) is expected to deploy its B787-9 and A330-300 fleet to restart international commercial services in July 2021, with its twelve A380-800s remaining mothballed in the Mojave Desert, US, until mid-2023.

In an optimistic move following the role out of COVID-19 vaccines, Qantas on January 5 announced the resumption of most of its international services from July 1. “Qantas has aligned the selling of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021. We continue to review and update our international schedule in response to the developing COVID-19 situation,” the airline said in a statement.

Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce earlier said the airline’s A380 fleet would be stored for at least three years as it expects its international network to reach only 50% of its pre-pandemic capacity during the 2021-2022 financial year. Joyce said the airline would use the smaller B787-900s and A330-300s to re-establish the international route network. This would more than halve the capacity on routes as the B787-9s have 236 seats and the A330-300s have 297 seats against the 484 seats of the A380s, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module reveals. Qantas has eleven Dreamliners and ten A330-300s in its fleet, according to the ch-aviation fleets ownership module.

Meanwhile, Joyce also caused controversy last month when he declared the airline would change its terms and conditions to mandate that travellers must be vaccinated to travel on international Qantas flights. Although some countries like the UK, Singapore, China, Israel, and the US have started vaccinating their populations, Australia hass yet to authorise a COVID jab.

All of the airline’s international flights, except for a limited schedule between Australia and New Zealand, have been grounded since May 2020 because of Australia’s strict COVID-19 travel restrictions. Up until recently, most international flights had been cancelled until October 2021, but the vast majority of its international long-haul network are now on sale from July 1, 2021.

This includes the following routes:

Destinations not yet re-opened include Chicago O'Hare (which was supposed to be served nonstop 4x weekly from April 2020 but was never launched); New York JFK; and Santiago de Chile Int'l.