Australia’s Qantas Group is to ground eight Airbus A380s for six months, as it cuts capacity by nearly a quarter over the period to September 2020.

Only two A380s will remain flying, because two others are undergoing scheduled maintenance and cabin upgrades.

The measures follow the continuing downturn in demand in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas Group, which includes budget operator Jetstar, is to slash international capacity by 23%, mainly in the Asia-Pacific markets.

Capacity on US and UK routes will be cut by 19% and 17% respectively, says the company.

“Rather than exit routes altogether, Qantas will use smaller aircraft and reduce the frequency of flights to maintain overall connectivity,” it adds. Eight A380s will be grounded until September.

Qantas will redirect its Sydney-Singapore-London services to stop in Perth instead from 20 April, given the popularity of its non-stop Perth-London route.

It will also delay its Brisbane-Chicago debut until mid-September.

Jetstar’s route network will be trimmed, with the suspension of flights to Bangkok and a halving of flights from Australia to Vietnam and Japan.

On the domestic front, Qantas and Jetstar will increase the cut in capacity from 3% to 5% until September.

Qantas says that, overall, it is effectively grounding 38 Qantas and Jetstar aircraft across its international and domestic networks.

“Given the dynamic and uncertain nature of this situation, it is not possible to provide meaningful guidance at this time on the size of that impact on group earnings for the remainder of [the current fiscal year],” the company adds.