The Airbus A380 is an awe-inspiring aircraft. However, as a type, the giant of the skies never really took off. It had just 251 firm orders on the books when Airbus announced, in February 2019, that it would end its production.
Airlines are beginning to retire aircraft that have barely turned ten years old, far younger than expected of a plane like this. The current situation affecting the aviation industry isn’t doing the type any favors. But exactly how many A380s have been scrapped, and how many more have been retired?
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Simple Flying decided to dig into the numbers so that you don’t have to. For this article, we will focus on A380s retired from airline service, and not the test aircraft that Airbus itself has retired.
Singapore Airlines became the very first carrier to retire the Airbus A380. In total, five of its 24 Airbus A380 aircraft have so far left the fleet. These are the aircraft registered 9V-SKA through 9V-SKE. At least two of these aircraft have been scrapped by TARMAC Aerosave in Tarbes. Indeed, Simple Flying previously reported how you can own a part of these aircraft.
One of these aircraft did escape the finality of the retirement faced by other A380s phased out of service. Although the market for second-hand A380s is practically non-existent, Portuguese wet lease charter company Hi Fly saw a niche market for a single Airbus A380.
9V-SKC became 9H-MIP. While the aircraft has stood in for Norwegian and rescued stranded Thomas Cook passengers, it is currently being used for cargo purposes, moving light shipments such as boxes of face masks.
The airline that has retired the most Airbus A380s is Air France. It came as no surprise that the whole fleet was retired almost as soon as the pandemic began to bite.
The original plan had been to retire all ten A380s over the next couple of years, with the first having left the fleet late last year. However, when the airline decided that it would not need the aircraft again before their planned retirement, their fate was set. This was similar to what was seen with British Airways’ Boeing 747s.
The fate of the Lufthansa Airbus A380 is more fluid than perhaps that of other aircraft. The airline had 14 of the giant double-decker. Seven have been retired so far, with eight more moved to a Spanish aircraft graveyard. Six, therefore, remain in Frankfurt.
However, the airline’s entire A380 fleet was recently dealt a blow as Lufthansa said the type would only return if demand returned faster than expected. At the present moment, this seems highly unlikely.
In June, Simple Flying reported that Emirates was preparing its first Airbus A380 for retirement. The aircraft, A6-EDB, has been with the UAE carrier since October 2008. It was recently spotted at Dubai World Central wearing an all-white livery.
The airline is expected to operate the A380 as a type for some time yet. It makes up around half of the airline’s fleet, and Emirates is still expecting eight more deliveries.
— Mohamed Al Mehairi (@AlMehairiAUH) June 12, 2020
Which A380 are you saddest to see leave the skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!