The Airbus A380 is arguably one of the most significant casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic as far as aviation is concerned. At the height of the crisis, fewer Airbus A380s were flying than Boeing 737-200s. However, as the global recovery slowly gathers steam, just how much of the world’s fleet is flying? Simple Flying browsed the data from FlightRadar24.com to find out.
Currently, only two airlines are operating the giant of the skies for passenger services. Other A380s are flying here and there, such as the British Airways fleet. However, these have not been included in the figures as no passengers are on board these “ghost” flights.
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China Southern has a fleet of five Airbus A380s. Bucking the global trend of operations, the only Chinese A380 operator is operating all five of its aircraft for passenger flights.
The only other airline actively flying the Airbus A380 is Emirates. The UAE carrier is the aircraft’s largest customer, with 115 of the plane having been delivered. However, it seems as though the majority of the fleet is still grounded, as only 13 aircraft are operating to Emirates’ six A380 destinations. In total, 18 Airbus A380s are currently operating passenger flights.
Retired and scrapped aircraft
20 Airbus A380s have so far been retired from airlines around the globe. The first airline to begin withdrawing the Airbus A380 was Singapore Airlines. In total, five aircraft have left the airline’s fleet. However, one got a new lease of life with the wet lease operator Hi Fly. Two of Singapore’s aircraft have been scrapped.
Air France became the first airline to retire its entire Airbus A380 fleet earlier this year. The airline’s aircraft have been mainly sent to TARMAC Aerosave sites. This company scrapped the first two Singapore A380s. Finally, Lufthansa has retired six of its 14 robust Airbus A380 fleet.
Stored and preserved aircraft
Across the industry, 16 Airbus A380s have been sent to a long term storage site until they are needed once more. Firstly, one Lufthansa Airbus A380 has gone to Teruel alongside the airline’s retired A380s for long-term storage.
Eight of Qantas’ 12 strong Airbus A380 fleet have been sent to Victorville in the Mojave Desert for long term storage. The airline’s remaining aircraft are spread across Los Angeles International, and Dresden. While Qantas has been flying A380s out of Australia for storage, Singapore Airlines has flown six A380s to Alice Springs in the Australian desert for storage.
Finally, one of Airbus’ A380’s is in a state of storage in Toulouse, having last flown in September 2019. Airbus’ other two aircraft have been preserved at Museums. One is in Toulouse, while the other is at Paris’ Le Bourget airport. British Airways’ Airbus A380 fleet is currently parked up at Chateauroux in France. However, as the airline is keeping these aircraft operationally ready, we have not classed them as stored.
Having taken into account the operational, retired, scrapped, stored, and preserved aircraft, we are left with 198 aircraft. Nine Airbus A380s are still yet to be delivered, one will go to Japanese carrier ANA, while the other eight will go to Emirates.
The remaining 189 aircraft are currently grounded at airports around the world. Some of these aircraft are being kept operational for training and maintenance flights, while others are counting the days until they may one day flex their wings again.
When did you last fly on an Airbus A380? Let us know about your experience in the comments!