Qantas to send its A380 fleet to Mojave Desert for storage

Six of the aircraft have recently been refurbished.
Six of the aircraft have recently been refurbished. Photo credit: Getty.

Just a year ago they were the pride of the Qantas fleet but now the iconic Airbus A380s are headed for California's Mojave Desert, also known as the 'airplane graveyard.'

The airline's 12 A380s will remain grounded for "some time", but it could be the end of the road - or runway - for at least six of them.

"We expect all 12 of our A380s to be in storage for some time as we wait for international travel demand to recover," a Qantas spokesperson said.

The airline's CEO Alan Joyce hinted at the fate of the aircraft back in May.

 "There is a potential to bring all 12 A380s back, but there is a potential to bring less than 12 back," Joyce told Executive Traveller.

"That will depend on what the recovery scenario looks like. We don't know when the big markets like the US and the UK, which use the A380s, will open, and when." 

Qantas is also quietly retiring the last of its Boeing 747s, one of the most renowned and groundbreaking aircraft in history. They too will be sent to Mojave.

Earlier this month, Air New Zealand's Cam Wallace confirmed its 15 Boeing 777 aircraft will be going into "deep storage" in Alice Springs.

The Mojave Air and Space Port is 150km north-east of Los Angeles and has over 100 retired airliners parked long-term in various states of disrepair.

Qantas' A380s are currently on the ground at Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles airports, but storage at Mojave is reportedly substantially cheaper.