Air France’s First Retired Airbus A380 Completes Its Final Flight

The first Airbus A380 to be retired by Air France has just landed following its final flight. The aircraft had flown from Dresden in Germany to Knock in Ireland. Here, the aircraft will be disassembled and turned into spare parts.

Air France, Airbus A380, Retired
Air France’s first Airbus A380 to be retired has just completed its final flight. Photo: Getty Images

At just 10-years old, this Airbus A380 is incredibly young to be retired, especially when compared to British Airways’ oldest aircraft. However, it’s time to wave au revoir to this A380 as it undertakes its final journey.

The aircraft is the first of Air France’s A380s to be retired, however, others will follow. Today the airline estimated that the type’s withdrawal would set it back €126 million ($136 million) according to Flight Global.

The final flight

F-HPJB is currently undertaking its final flight. The aircraft took off at 14:51 CET. Following its departure, the aircraft began to fly towards Knock where it will be scrapped. It touched down for the last time at 16:12 GMT. The aircraft has been in Dresden for the past month and a half.

Air France operated the aircraft’s final commercial flight on New Year’s Eve. The Airbus A380 departed from Shanghai (PVG) at 00:47 as flight AF111. Following an 11-hour and 48-minute flight, it arrived back in Paris at 05:35.

Air France, Airbus A380, Retired
The flight from Dresden to Knock took just under two and a half hours. Image:

The aircraft then remained on the ground in Paris until 09:12 on the 2nd of January. Here, the aircraft departed for Dresden where it has been since. Following a short 1-hour 10-minute flight, the aircraft touched down in Dresden at 10:22. Here, it underwent a paint job, as well as some additional work.

Once in Knock, the aircraft will begin to be dismantled. It will be the third Airbus A380 to be torn apart. Rather than being parked in an aviation graveyard, so far two Airbus A380s have been dismantled. These carry the manufacturer’s serial number 003 and 004 and were the first aircraft in commercial service.

Following 10 years with Singapore Airlines, they were flown to Tarbes where they were torn apart and spare parts removed. Aviationtag has been turning parts of them into keyrings for aviation enthusiasts.

Airbus A380, Aviationtag, Retired
Aviationtag sold out of keyrings made from the first retired Airbus A380 in a couple of days. Photo: Aviationtag

Why are Airbus A380s being retired so soon?

Unfortunately, the Airbus A380 came into the industry at just the wrong time. In general, four-engined aircraft are being shunned for two-engined aircraft. This is due to improvements in ETOPS regulations, in addition to higher fuel efficiency.

At the same time, it can be hard to completely fill an Airbus A380, meaning that it is only truly effective on the highest traffic routes. For some slot restricted airports, this is perfect, however, at other airports it makes more sense to spread capacity across smaller aircraft, increasing flight flexibility.

Simple Flying has contacted Air France for comment.

Have you flown on this Airbus A380? Will you miss the A380? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!