Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Friday, 23 July 2021

Airbus Updates No.3469

 Alaska Airlines Reactivating 10 Airbus A320s To Support Recovery

Things are improving for Alaska Airlines. Now, to support the carrier’s recovery, it is planning on reactivating ten Airbus A320ceos. These planes, which are only coming back for a short time, will help tide the carrier over before it gets enough Boeing 737 MAX jets to support its fleet plans.

Alaska A320
Alaska Airlines is reactivating 10 Airbus A320s. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines reactivating 10 Airbus A320s

On the carrier’s second-quarter earnings call, CEO Ben Minicucci stated the following on Alaska Airlines reactivating 10 Airbus jets:

“We are planning to reactivate approximately 10 Airbus aircraft and begin flying them this fall and winter. This temporary return of several Airbus airplanes allows us to create capacity quickly and protects against unforeseen events that could be outside of our control, such as supply chain disruption.”

Alaska A320
Alaska Airlines is bringing back the Airbus A320s to add temporary capacity as it waits for more MAX jets. Photo: Getty Images

The Airbus jets that are coming back will come online later this year, toward the fourth quarter. The jets are mainly there to support the airline’s recovery heading into summer 2022. While it is reactivating these jets, the airline is still confident in Boeing’s ability to deliver the MAX jets Alaska has on order. As Mr. Minicucci stated:

I am 100% confident in Boeing’s ability to deliver. You know, our view is that there are things right now in the economy, with supply chain, that some of us can’t even see– out of our control, out of Alaska’s control, out of Boeing’s control, and these Airbus, what it does is just gives us dry powder to either backfill any issues that we may experience because of it, or like Andrew said, we can grow up to 8% for the next summer of 2022.”

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Alaska’s Airbus A320ceos

The jets that are coming back are 10 Airbus A320ceos. These planes have room for 150 passengers. There are 12 in first class, 24 in extra-legroom economy, and 114 in standard economy. These ten jets will complement the 21 existing Airbus A320s alaska recorded in its fleet at the end of the first quarter.

The Airbus A320ceos were additions to Alaska’s fleet after the merger with Virgin America. However, Alaska had consistently sought to return to its all-Boeing roots. To replace the A320s, it turned to the Boeing 737 MAX. It will also continue to fly the Airbus A321neo.

After placing a large 737 MAX order, the carrier turned to accelerated Airbus A320ceo retirements. In the early days of the crisis, it got rid of its Airbus A319s, leaving only the A320ceos and ten A321neos left in its fleet.

However, Alaska Airlines now needs the added capacity to support its ongoing recovery. The summer has been turning out to be a good one for travel in the United States, and demand continues to return as various states and attractions reopen. It made decisions to retire the Airbus A320s quickly before seeing the quick return of demand

The Airbus A320s are only coming back temporarily. Alaska Airlines is expecting to take 31 Boeing 737 MAX 9s next year, and those will help support the airline’s future fleet plans and lead to more Airbus A320ceo retirements.

Where Alaska’s recovery stands

Things are looking up at Alaska Airlines. The carrier is planning to return to 100% of 2019-levels of flying by summer 2022 at the latest, though it will accelerate that timeline if the demand environment warrants. Currently, Alaska Airlines plans to fly capacity 17-20% below 2019 levels in the third quarter, with load factors at roughly 82-85%.

Alaska MAX
The goal is to get Alaska back to a mostly Boeing fleet with the 737 MAX. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Disciplined capacity growth is the name of the game at Alaska. However, it has not shied away from adding new routes as it sees fit, including from BoisePalm Springs, and Austin. Additionally, it continues to bolster its Seattle hub and is launching new flying to Belize this winter.

Altogether, the summer has proven to be a great season for Alaska Airlines. The carrier is coming back strong, and it is headed back toward profitability in its own right without government support. With the recovery continuing in earnest, Alaska Airlines needs more planes, and it is gearing up for the flexibility to fly more than 2019-levels of capacity sooner if necessary.

Airbus Updates No.3468

 Airbus A330 Fuselage To Be Used As Stage At Spanish Music Festival

A week ago, residents of North-East Spain may have noticed the fuselage of an Airbus A330 traveling past their window. The scrapped aircraft was being transported from Teruel to the desert area of Fraga, where the Monegros Desert Festival will be held next year.

Airbus A330, Monegros Desert Festival, Fuselage Stage
Last week an Airbus A330 fuselage section made the 230km journey from Teruel to the Monegros Desert. Photo: Monegros Desert Festival via Facebook

We’ve seen some exciting uses for retired planes. From holiday accommodation to reefs and coffee shops, you’d think somebody had already tried everything possible. Now, a Spanish music festival is turning a former Airbus A330 into a stage for up to 1,000 people as it welcomes guests back from a pandemic break.

A stage for 1,000 people

A week ago, a scrapped Airbus A330 left Teruel, widely known for its aircraft storage facility, to take the first step in its post aviation life. The plane was taken to a field in the Monegros Desert, not far from the town of Candasnos.

According to Business Insider, the journey took 230km (143 miles), mostly traveling along the A-23 highway. Once the aircraft arrived at the festival ground, cranes hoisted it off the truck and into its resting place, where it joined previously delivered wing sections. Commenting on its plans via Instagram, the festival said,

“We can finally announce that MDF & 8.6 Beer bought an AIRBUS Plane for Monegros Festival 2022 and we will transform it into a secret club for 1.000 people! [This is] by far the craziest project we have done…many months to make another dream come true, endless meetings with the council and government, last minute decisions.”

Airbus A330, Monegros Desert Festival, Fuselage Stage
The fuselage is being transported in three sections due to its size. Photo: Monegros Desert Festival via Facebook

Which aircraft is being used?

It’s impossible to confirm which aircraft is being turned into a festival stage, but we have a couple of clues to help us narrow it down, hopefully. According to data from, there are 30 Airbus A330 aircraft at Teruel, ranging in age from a four-year-old A330neo test aircraft to a 27-year-old former Cathay Dragon jet.

According to the data, only two of these 30 aircraft have actually been scrapped, with the remainder in storage. The two scrapped aircraft both came from Air Italy, flying with Qatar Airways before this.

The first of these aircraft is MSN 511, an 18.22-year-old A330 that took its first flight in January 2003. The plane was registered as A7-ACC with Qatar Airways and then EI-GGO with Air Italy. As of February 28th, it had completed 78,328 flight hours over 14,829 flight cycles.

The second of these aircraft is MSN 571, a 17.09-year-old A330 that took its first flight in March 2004. This plane was registered as A7-ACE when delivered to Qatar Airways and subsequently reregistered as EI-GFX with Air Italy. As of February 28th, this jet had flown for 73,976 hours across 13,624 cycles.

Airbus A330, Monegros Desert Festival, Fuselage Stage
Air Italy’s Airbus A330 aircraft also had a grey belly. Photo: Getty Images

The second clue that it may be a former Air Italy plane is the paint scheme on the aircraft. While the area where the Air Itlay logo would’ve been is painted grey, the base of the aircraft is also painted grey in a pattern that matches the former Air Itlay livery. It would make sense to cover the operator’s logo, but painting the base grey for an aircraft with this use seems unpractical.

Airbus Updates No.3467


Airbus A320 -251N 10530  HZ-FAO Flyadeal delivery 22jul21 TLS-JED ex F-WWTZ
 Airbus A320 -271N 10563  N943NK Spirit Airlines delivery 23jul21 BFM-DTW ex F-WZMT
 Airbus A320 -251N 10565  N382FR Frontier Airlines delivery 20jul21 BFM-TPA “Sonny the Lemon Shark” ex F-WZMJ
 Airbus A321 -231 1207  N1207A Vallair regd 19jul21, parked at CHR prior freighter conversion, for Global Crossing Airlines ex UR-WRV
 Airbus A321 -231 1946  9H-SLG smartLynx Airlines Malta posn 22jul21 VCE-AMS on wet-lease to TUI Airlines Netherlands ex YL-LDH
 Airbus A321 -211 1946  9H-SLG smartLynx Airlines Malta posn 17jul21 VNO-VCE on wet-lease to Volotea ex YL-LDH
 Airbus A321 -211 1994  D-AEUB Eurowings posn 21jul21 KUN-CGN after storage ex OE-LCS
 Airbus A321 -231 6009  D-AAAU Lufthansa Technik ferried 21jul21 ETMN-HAM-DGX ex N805AV
 Airbus A321 -211 6780  CC-BEF Lan Airlines re-delivery 16-17jul21 MEX-LIM-SCL ex N495MN
 Airbus A321 -27NX 10294  B-MBS Air Macau first in svc 19jul21 MFM-PEK-MFM ex D-AVXE
 Airbus A321 -271NX 10295  HA-LVQ Wizz Air delivery 23jul21 XFW-BUD ex D-AVXT
 Airbus A321 -251NXLR 10311  CS-TXH TAP Air Portugal delivery 23jul21 XFW-LIS ex D-AZAB
 Airbus A321 -211 1451  LZ-MDF Fly2Sky for delivery jul21 ex MPL ex OE-ILB
 Airbus A330 -302 659  VP-CNW Castlelake ferried 21jul21 NOC-EGBP ex A7-AEC
 Airbus A350 -941 79  PR-XTG Latam Brasil ferried 21jul21 GRU-VCV, for Delta Air Lines ex A7-AMA
 Airbus A350 -941 265  N574DZ Delta Air Lines regd 15jul21, parked at VCV ex PR-XTJ
 Airbus A350 -941 452  B-323H China Eastern delivery 21jul21 TSN-PVG ex B-005S
 Airbus A350 -1041 473  F-WZNC Airbus ferried 21jul21 TLS-LDE, for British Airways as G-XWBI 
 Airbus Canada A220 -300 55113  N3058J jetBlue Airways delivery 20jul21 BFM-VQQ ex C-GPOM

credit : Skyliner Aviation News

Airbus Updates No.3466


Airbus A319 -111 1036  F-GRHG Air France ferried 22jul21 ORY-DGX, for part-out & scrap ex D-AVYS
 Airbus A319 -131 1225  G-EUPH British Airways ferried 21jul21 LHR-DGX, for part-out & scrap ex D-AVYK
 Airbus A319 -112 1808  9A-BTJ Trade Air posn 22jul21 ZAG-PRN, mywings titl ex N1808A
 Airbus A319 -112 2126  TU-TRC Air Côte d´Ivoire ferried 18jul21 ABJ-LDE on return to lessor ex HC-CKP
 Airbus A319 -112 3689  9H-XFW HiFly Malta posn 22jul21 LPBJ-CDG on wet-lease to Amelia ex D-ABGO
 Airbus A320 -231 424  YR-SIL FlyLili for delivery jul21 ex VAR ex LZ-EAA
 Airbus A320 -232 1663  ES-SAW smartLynx Estonia seen regd at DGX 21jul21, TUI titl prior return to svc UK-based ex 2-ACSD
 Airbus A320 -214 3052  RP-C8979 Philippines AirAsia ferried by lessor 21jul21 MNL-CRK ex OE-IFQ
 Airbus A320 -232 3409  9H-AMI Avion Express Malta delivery 21jul21 BUD-VNO ex OE-IGH
 Airbus A320 -233 3418  N498TA UMB Bank ferried 19-21jul21 GYR-HNL-MAJ-BIK-CGK on delivery to Super Air Jet? ex F-WWIO
 Airbus A320 -216 3679  OE-ILY BBAM Aircraft Leasing ferried 22jul21 CAN-KUL ex HS-ABH
 Airbus A320 -214 3765  EC-NOQ Volotea delivery 20jul21 KUL-SHJ-PMI, PK-reg ex PK-AXF
 Airbus A320 -214 3866  9H-SLI smartLynx Airlines Malta posn 22jul21 BCM-VCE on wet-lease to Volotea ex EI-GVX
 Airbus A320 -214 3896  HK-5221 Viva Air Colombia ferried 17jul21 BQN-BOG prior return to lessor ex LZ-AWI
 Airbus A320 -232 4323  OE-ISW JLPS Leasing Stella ferried 23jul21 BUD-CQM, all white for onward storage ex HA-LWC
 Airbus A320 -232 4323  OE-ISW JLPS Leasing Stella regd 16jul21, parked at BUD, all white ex HA-LWC
 Airbus A320 -214 4589  EC-NQM Volotea first in svc 16jul21 VCE-JMK-VCE, Aigle Azur tail cs ex F-HBAO
 Airbus A320 -232 5900  PK-SAW Super Air Jet delivery 15jul21 MEL-PER-BTH, VH-reg ex VH-VNR
 Airbus A320 -214 5967  VQ-BRV Rossiya Airlines delivery 19jul21 OSR-LED after paint and transfer ex F-WWIS
 Airbus A320 -271N 10498  B-324D Juneyao Airlines delivery 20-21jul21 XFW-NQZ-PVG ex F-WWTV

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Airbus Updates No.3465

 Russia’s Azimuth Airlines Orders 6 Airbus A220s

Azimuth Airlines will become the first Russian operator of the Airbus A220 after placing an order for six Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The airline will lease the aircraft from ALC, with the first of the type to be delivered in around a year. The news was announced this afternoon at the MAKS Air Show in Moscow.

Azimuth Airlines, SSJ100, Airbus A220
Azimuth Airlines has placed an order for six Airbus A220-300 aircraft. Photo: Airbus

The pandemic has shown us that the Airbus A220 is the little plane that could. The aircraft is operating more flights than pre-pandemic and is being noticed, as can be seen with Azimuth Airlines’ new commitment to the type.

About Azimuth’s order

Azimuth Airlines today revealed it would take six Airbus A220-300 aircraft, making it the first Russian airline to do so. Azimuth intends to fly the aircraft with a single cabin class. 148 economy seats will likely be arranged in a 2-3 configuration.

Azimuth will operate the aircraft from three of its bases. These are the ones in Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, and Mineralnye Vody. The airline plans to use the aircraft on domestic flights to Siberia and short-haul international routes.

Azimuth Airlines, SSJ100, Airbus A220
The aircraft will join the airline’s existing SSJ100 fleet. Photo: Getty Images

Commenting on the order, Julien Franiatte, Airbus’ Head of Russia, said,

“Azimuth Airlines carries over 1.2 million passengers [a year], and that achievement was done only after three years of operation. That, that shows the strength in those three years, and we have had COVID. So, it makes us all the more proud that you’re going to be a A220 operator.”

Who is Azimuth Airlines?

At this point, you may be wondering who Azimuth Airlines is? According to data from, the airline is a Russian scheduled carrier founded in 2014. Data from Cirium shows the airline as operating flights since September 2017. The airline serves 42 destinations across eight countries with 102 routes.

According to, the airline has three existing A220-300 orders placed on June 4th by Ilyushin Finance. While it is yet to take delivery of its first Airbus A220, the airline has a fleet of 14 Sukhoi SSJ100 aircraft. This consists of six 95B aircraft with an average age of 2.4 years and a further eight 95LR aircraft with an average age of 4.3 years. As such, the airline’s total average fleet age is just 3.5 years.

Airbus Updates No.3464

Airbus delivers first A350 from its widebody completion & delivery centre in China

Airbus has delivered the first A350 from its widebody completion & delivery centre in Tianjin (C&DC), China, taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and long-term strategic partnership with China.

The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, the largest Airbus operator in Asia and second largest in the world. At the end of June 2021, China Eastern Airlines operated an Airbus fleet of 413 aircraft, including 349 A320 Family aircraft, 55 A330 Family aircraft and nine A350 aircraft.

“I’m proud that Airbus successfully extended the capability of the widebody C&DC in Tianjin to the A350, the latest new generation aircraft, at such a difficult time of global aviation,” said George Xu, Airbus Executive Vice President and Airbus China CEO. “This is a new milestone in the long-term cooperation between China and Airbus, which further demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to the country. Congratulations to China Eastern Airlines, our long-term strategic partner, for receiving the first A350 delivered from China, and I appreciate their trust in Airbus and in our products as always.”

Located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, the widebody C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities, including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery.

The centre was inaugurated in September 2017 with its capability on A330s. Then, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to China in 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Further Development of Industrial Cooperation was signed in Beijing by He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, and Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer, announcing the C&DC would extend its capability to A350 aircraft.

The A350 features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon-fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The A350’s ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin is the quietest of any widebody aircraft and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience.

At the end of June 2021, the A350 Family had received 915 firm orders from 49 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Airbus Updates No.3463

 flyadeal Takes Delivery Of Its 1st A320neo From An Order For 30

Saudi Arabian budget airline flyadeal just took delivery of a brand new Airbus A320neo. While the aircraft is technically the airline’s second A320neo, it is the first coming from an order of 30, which is to be delivered over the next three years. Let’s take a look at the new aircraft and its journey to Jeddah.

flyadeal a320neo
The A320neo is technically the airline’s second, with the first coming to the airline pre-owned in 2020. Photo: Airbus

From Toulouse to Jeddah

The brand new Airbus A320neo registered HZ-FAN departed Airbus’ assembly facilities in Toulouse on July 15th at 20:36. With the evening departure, the aircraft’s six-and-a-half-hour flight to Jeddah was an overnight journey, seeing an arrival in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the next day just after 04:00 local time.

The A320neo appears to have taken a fairly indirect flight path towards its new home. For reasons unknown, the jet appears to have gone out of its way to fly through a specific part of Austria’s airspace before heading towards Saudi Arabia. It appears that the jet also made a point of avoiding Greek airspace (as well as the air above Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.)

The first A320neo of a 30-aircraft order

flyadeal’s brand new A320neo is the first out of 30 to be delivered in the next three years. However, the 30 A320neos that were ordered were part of an even larger deal that was announced at the 2019 Paris Airshow.

This larger order consists of a total of 65 Airbus A320 family jets ordered by flyadeal’s parent company, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia). With 30 A320neos going to flyadeal, the remaining aircraft (20 A321neos and 15 A321XLRs) will go to Saudia.

While it’s the first A320neo of the 30-aircraft order, it’s flyadeal’s second A320neo. The first joined the fleet in August of 2020 through a lease with Avolon. This aircraft, registered HZ-FAL, had been originally ordered by Tianjin Airlines but was not taken up.

Airbus notes that flyadeal’s A320neo is configured with 186 seats in an all-economy class layout, calling it the ideal aircraft for the airline to “grow and expand its domestic and regional network.”

In total, flyadeal now has a fleet of 13 Airbus A320s. As noted previously, two are A320neos while the other 11 are A320ceo variants. The A320ceos themselves are relatively young, having an average sub-fleet age of just 3.3 years.

flyadeal’s older A320neo is about one and a half years old, while the brand new jet had its first test flight at the start of June 2021. AIB Family Flight data shows that more A320neos are on the way. The aircraft registered HZ-FAO took its third test flight out of Toulouse on July 15th, while HZ-FAM took its second test flight on July 16th.

Airbus Updates No.3462

 Russia’s Ural Airlines Adds Fourth Airbus A321neo

Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast-headquartered Ural Airlines has just added a brand new Airbus A321neo to its fleet of aircraft. In a statement released on July 16, 2021, the Russian carrier said that the plane arrived a day earlier from the Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany.

Ural Airlines A321neo
Ural Airlines now has four Airbus A321neos. Photo: Ural Airlines

The shiny new aircraft has been given the registration number of VQ-BKX and is the fourth new Airbus A321neo to join the Ural Airlines fleet. When speaking about the new aircraft in the company statement, Ural Airlines says that passengers will enjoy impeccable comfort due to the spacious cabin.

The A321neo is more efficient

Ural Airlines Airbus A321neo aircraft are configured in a single class 3+3 layout with 236 ultra-thin economy class seats. Each seat has a USB charging point for telephones and other electronic gadgets, and the cabin has programmable lighting to help make the flight more pleasant.

Being focused on providing the next generation of aircraft to the world, the Airbus A321neo is fitted with LEAP-1A32 engines from CFM International and special wingtips with sharklets. The new generation of alloys and composites used to build the plane adds to the jet’s fuel savings and range compared to non-neo versions. More environmentally friendly, the Airbus A321neos emissions are reduced by 5,000 tons compared to earlier models. Its noise footprint is reduced by 50%.

Ural Airlines A3231neo
Ural Airlines all-economy class seating. Photo: Ural Airlines

Ural Airlines deployed its new Airbus A321neo on its flagship route between Koltsovo International Airport (SVX) and Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME) on July 16, 2021. When looking at the Ural Airlines schedule, they offer eight flights a day between Yekaterinburg and Moscow. All flights are non-stop and take two hours and thirty minutes.

The plane has been deployed on the Yekaterinburg to Moscow route. Photo:

Ural Airlines used to be a part of Aeroflot

Founded initially as part of Russian national flag carrier Aeroflot when the Russian Federation was a part of the Soviet Union, Ural Airlines focused on domestic routes out of Koltsovo International Airport (SVX). Following the break up of the Soviet Union, Ural Airlines became a stand-alone airline listed on the Moscow stock exchange.

Having inherited Antonov An-24s, Ilyushin Il-86s, and Tupolev Tu-154B-2s from its Aeroflot days, Ural Airlines set about modernizing its fleet with Airbus aircraft. According to aviation statistics and data website ch-aviation Ural Airlines currently has a fleet of 50 aircraft made up of the following planes:

  • 5 x Airbus A319-100s
  • 23 x Airbus A320-200s
  • 3 x Airbus A320neos
  • 15 x A321-200s
  • 4 x Airbus A321neos

Ural Airlines future orders

Ural Airlines has outstanding orders for eight Airbus A320-200s and three Boeing 737-800s.

In its statement about the arrival of its latest Airbus A321neo, Ural Airlines says that it plans to welcome two more aircraft in August. Seeing as Ural Airlines has no more Airbus A321neos on order, we can assume that the planes will be A320-200s. In its statement, Ural Airlines says that the two aircraft are currently undergoing final training at the Airbus plant in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Ural Airlines
Ural Airlines is expecting two more new planes next month. Photo: Ural Airlines

As you can see from the above list of planes, Ural Airlines does not have any widebody aircraft and is primarily focused on domestic flights and flights to neighboring countries and Europe.

Airbus Updates No.3461


Fleet Snapshot: The Qantas Airbus A330s.

Qantas Airbus A330s remain a regular sight at many Australian and Asian airports, normally flying domestic and international short to medium-haul flights. Nowadays, eight of the 28 strong fleet are parked. But that still leaves the bulk of the fleet flying. In this fleet snapshot, we’ll take a look at what Qantas A330s are in the air and where they are flying.

Qantas has a fleet of 28 Airbus A330s, of which 20 are in the air. Photo: Qantas

Eight Qantas A330s parked, 20 A330s in the air

On the ground is a sole A330-300 (VH-QPF Esperance) and seven A330-200s. Those seven planes are VH-EBA Cradle Mountain, VH-EBB Albany, VH-EBD Traralgon, VH-EBK Savannah Way, VH-EBN Clare Valley, VH-EBO Kimberley, and VH-EBR Lockyer Valley.

VH-EBA, VH-EBK, VH-EBN, VH-EBO, and VH-QPF all appear to be parked in Sydney.  The remaining three planes, VH-EBB, VH-EBD, and VH-EBR, are reported to be parked in Brisbane.

Information regarding flight moments and aircraft status is provided by online aircraft database, VH-EBC Surfers Paradise, an A330-200, has primarily been flying domestic flights. The plane landed in Melbourne (MEL) on Monday evening, having operated QF780 from Perth (PER). VH-EBE Kangaroo Valley, an A330-200, is also sticking to domestic flying in July. The Airbus flew Perth – Sydney – Perth on Monday.

Another A330-200, VH-EBF King Valley, most recently flew Sydney – Melbourne as QF7702 on the weekend but had been doing a bit of trans-Tasman flying this month. VH-EBG, Barossa Valley, another A330-200, is also sticking to domestic flying, making appearances in Cairns (CNS), Darwin (DRW), Sydney (SYD), Melbourne and Perth over July. VH-EBG most recently flew Melbourne – Perth as QF783 on Monday.

Qantas is keeping most of its A330s busy flying selected passenger and cargo services. Photo: Qantas

Qantas A330-200s focus on domestic flying

VH-EBJ Margaret River, an A330-200, had a busy Monday. It flew five sectors, including Darwin to Melbourne, Melbourne to Cairns, Cairns to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney, and Sydney to Melbourne. Not so busy is VH-EBK Savannah Way. The A330-200 landed in Sydney from Auckland (AKL) on July 15 and has sat idle since. Until then, the plane had a steady roster of domestic flights. marks the plane as now parked.

VH-EBL Whitsundays, an A330-200, is flying up to Cairns from Melbourne on Tuesday morning and will operate the return afternoon flight. On Monday, the Airbus flew from Sydney to Melbourne, onto Perth, and then back to Melbourne. VH-EMB Tamar Valley arrived in Hong Kong (HKG) late on Monday afternoon, having operated a cargo flight. Qantas A330s continue to fly cargo in and out of HKG regularly.

VH-EBP Ningaloo Reef, an A330-200, flew Sydney – Melbourne on Tuesday morning. The plane has spent much of July darting up and down Australia’s east coast, with occasional forays across to Auckland. VH-EBQ Wolgan Valley spent Monday operating Qantas’ new widebody passenger flights between Brisbane and Darwin. The A330-200 flew Brisbane – Darwin – Brisbane on Saturday and Monday.

Over the last few days, VH-EBS Swan Valley has operated a roster of flights between Auckland, Melbourne and Perth. At the time of publication, the A330-200 is in the air, flying between Perth and Melbourne as QF7329. The last of Qantas’ A330-200s is VH-EBV Kangaroo Island. The plane has operated several few Sydney – Darwin – Sydney flights lately. But on Monday, VH-EBV flew to Perth, where it overnighted before operating QF7323 back to Sydney on Tuesday morning.

Qantas A330 flying hours still fall short of 2019 levels. Photo: Qantas

Cargo focus for many Qantas A330-300s

The first of the A330-300s is VH-QPA Kununurra. The aircraft operated QF146 from Auckland to Sydney on Monday. Interspersed with domestic flights, VH-QPA has flown several cargo flights to Hong Kong and Tokyo Narita (NRT) in July. Most of those cargo flights originated in Brisbane.  The second A330-300 is VH-QPB Tennant Creek. The plane flew dull Melbourne – Sydney – Melbourne sectors on Monday but has also operated cargo flights to Hong Kong, Singapore (SIN) and Nuku’alofa (TBU) over the last week.

VH-QPC Broken Hill is in Melbourne on Tuesday morning, having operated QF7328 down from Brisbane. Last Tuesday, VH-QPC operated a Sydney – Shanghai (PVG) cargo flight. The return service to Sydney ran on Thursday. On Sunday, VH-QPD Port Macquarie flew a cargo flight up to Tokyo Narita from Brisbane. The A330-300 operated the return service on Monday, flying as QF62.

VH-QPE Port Lincoln is a rare Qantas plane. It is mostly flying international services at the moment. The A330-300 now spends a lot of its time crisscrossing the Tasman Sea but last week fitted in a Sydney – Shanghai – Sydney cargo service. Shanghai is a popular port for Qantas A330s. VH-QPG Mt Gambier flew up from Sydney on Saturday and returned on Monday as QF130. Like VH-QPE, Mt Gambier is primarily flying international routes.

A Qantas A330-300 flying high. Photo: Getty Images

VH-QPH Noosa is mostly now flying trans-Tasman services. The A330-300 whizzed down to Christchurch (CHC) from Auckland on Tuesday morning. The plane then headed over to Sydney and onwards to Melbourne. Brisbane-based VH-QPI Cairns flew Brisbane – Cairns on Tuesday morning. Recently, the plane has spent its days flying between Brisbane and Auckland.

Last but not least is VH-QPJ Port Stephens. The A330-300 touched down in Darwin shortly before publication time, having operated QF824 from Brisbane. Over the weekend, VH-QPJ operated Brisbane – Cairns, Cairns to Tokyo Narita, and back to Brisbane. It’s a three-stage sector VH-QPI is likely repeating today.

A decent amount of flying for Qantas A330s

The snapshot reveals a relatively decent level of flying for most of Qantas’ A330s. The flying roster is not comparable with 2019 levels, but most A330 are getting some time in the air. That means crews are also flying, and pilots keep clocking up hours.

A few notable patterns do emerge. Qantas is primarily using its A330-300s to operate international cargo flights and deploying the A330-200s domestically. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it is a trend. Many of those cargo flights operate using existing flight numbers formerly used on passenger flights. A casual observer tracking flights might be surprised to see QF22 flying between Tokyo and Sydney. Or they could form the view Qantas was back flying passengers in and out of Japan – but that’s not the case. These are cargo flights.

There also appear to be a lot of irregular ferry flights around Australia. Not all the domestic flights running are taking passengers. Many are repositioning flights. Given the state of Australia’s internal borders, Qantas would have a tough time filling an A330-200 between, say, Sydney and Melbourne or Melbourne and Perth.

But passengers or not, most of Qantas A330s are in the air. It’s a piece of good news for the people flying and maintaining them.