Despite Qantas announcing they would be retiring their final seven 747s by the end of 2020, the retirement date has apparently been pushed back to 2021.
A memo to Qantas Operations staff has gone out saying this.
It is speculated that new slots opening up at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport have something to do with this.
Japan has recently allocated four slot pairs, including two for Australian carriers, at Haneda.
Qantas already has overnight 747-400 Sydney-Haneda-Sydney flights. There is speculation Qantas will add daytime flights to their Haneda roster, keeping a couple more 747’s busy.
And that would only account for one slot pair of the two available.
Virgin Australia is understood not to be in a position to make a bid for any of the available Haneda slot and Jetstar is firmly ensconced at its Narita base.
Pushing the 747 retirement back to 2021 would allow Qantas to maximize opportunities at Haneda at a time when Australia-Japan air traffic is growing rapidly. By 2021 they may be able to have enough 787-9s to put on the route. Alternatively they could take some Dreamliners off Jetstar.
To date, Qantas has not publicly confirmed pushing back the retirement date of their 747s.