Air France is to send up to five of its Airbus A380 aircraft to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard. This will happen sometime before the end of this month. The French flag carrier hasn’t been flying its fleet of A380 aircraft in recent weeks as their capacity isn’t required, given the current situation.
Air France has already retired one of its fleet of ten Airbus A380 aircraft. The remaining nine are due to be retired by 2022. However, none are currently flying. An Airbus A380 last flew in Air France colors on the 23rd of March. However, it won’t be long until a few aircraft return to the skies, albeit to enter long term storage.
Long term storage
Air France is set to store up to five Airbus A380s in Teruel. Teruel is a Spanish Aircraft graveyard housing many aircraft, some that haven’t flown for years. TARMAC Aerosave is a company that offers the graveyard services present at Teruel.
According to a tweet shared by Teruel Airport, a third of Air France’s remaining A380s are due to be ferried down to the Spanish graveyard for storage by the end of the month. These are F-HPJA, F-HPJC, and F-HPJE. The aircraft are 11, 10, and 9 years old, respectively.
🇦🇪 F-HPJC arrivera en provenance d'Abou Dhabi après une visite de maintenance 🔧
— The Travelers Club (@zeTravelersClub) April 18, 2020
TARMAC Aerosave went on to share another tweet yesterday. This suggests that two more Airbus A380 aircraft will be flown down to Teruel in advance of the three mentioned above. These are F-HPJF and F-HPJG, which are due to fly down to the airport today.
✈️ Ce sont F-HPJF et F-HPJG qui rejoindront les installations de @TarmacAerosave en Espagne
— The Travelers Club (@zeTravelersClub) April 21, 2020
Simple Flying has contacted an Air France representative for comment, however, has yet to hear back at the time of writing.
The end of the Air France A380?
However, the story does leave one question hanging: Is there a possibility that the A380 won’t return to fly for the French carrier? Unfortunately, the answer to that is ‘yes,’ there is a possibility. We just need to look over to fellow European airline group Lufthansa.
German flag carrier Lufthansa has already revealed that six of its Airbus A380 aircraft will be immediately retired. This decision comes as the group believes pre-crisis traffic levels won’t return until 2023. These A380s had already been earmarked to be sold back to Airbus over the coming years.
Now, it was known that Air France would retire its fleet of Airbus A380s by 2022 before the current crisis facing the industry. As such, it wouldn’t come as the biggest surprise if these aircraft don’t fly for the airline again. Although, this is unlikely to be confirmed by the airline any time soon.
Not alone in Teruel
The Airbus A380 aircraft won’t be alone in Teruel. The aviation graveyard has recently acquired several widebodies from Europe and elsewhere. These aircraft have also been stored as a result of the current situation. We recently reported that British Airways had flown five Boeing 747s to the storage facility. Meanwhile, Lufthansa is storing its entire fleet of Airbus A340-600 aircraft at the same facility for the foreseeable future.
What do you think? Will the Airbus A380 fly for Air France again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!