An Air France Airbus A380 has made its way to Malta. The aircraft in question is set to apparently be repainted before Air France retires the behemoth from its fleet. The A380 is expected to go back to its lessor Dr. Peters Group.
Air France A380 flown to Malta
Aeronews, via Facebook, included images of an Airbus A380, registration F-HPJB, in Air France livery landing in Malta. This A380 is on lease to Air France from the Dr. Peters group. The aircraft in question will be returned to the lessor after a full repainting, according to the post.
Air France has 10 Airbus A380s in its fleet. In the last few years, the airline has fallen out of love with the aircraft. In fact, a number of carriers are starting to retire these aircraft in favor of more fuel-efficient twinjets that are easier to fill due to smaller capacity.
The future for Air France
Looking ahead, Air France is striving towards fuel efficiency with an upgraded onboard product. Both of these features are lacking from the Airbus A380. Compared to newer aircraft like the 787 and A350, the A380 just does not offer the carrier the right operating economics.
Passengers will likely find the A350 to offer a better onboard experience in different classes of service. This is because Air France has upgraded its business class, premium economy, and economy class seating and options on the A350.
Compared to the three above products, the A380 does not even come close to competitive.
Onboard the A380
However, unlike the A350, Air France’s A380s do have a first-class cabin called “La Premiere”.
But the rest of the cabins are in need of a major overhaul. Whereas lie-flat seating is becoming the norm in business class, the A380 is equipped with angle-flat seats in this cabin. And, when it comes to economy seating, the A380 is in 3-4-3 configuration and has an outdated seatback entertainment system.
Then, of course, to upgrade such a massive aircraft would cost Air France just shy of a fortune. In sum, it simply makes sense for Air France to retire these aircraft. Management has judged that the airline has no need for these super-jumbos and, unlike Emirates, the A380 does not make up a significant portion of the Air France fleet.
Are you sad to see Air France retire these aircraft? Have you flown an Air France A380? Let us know in the comments!