Air France Grounds Its Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Air France will ground its remaining Airbus A380 fleet as a result of the unprecedented situation presented by the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, KLM will ground its remaining Boeing 747 aircraft for the same reason.

Air France Airbus A380, KLM Boeing 747, Grounded
Air France will be following in the footsteps of other airlines by grounding its Airbus A380s. Photo: Getty

The global coronavirus outbreak has caused a situation never before felt by the airline industry. As a result of an unplanned drop in capacity, tied with increasing government travel restrictions, air travel demand had plummeted as fast as a lead brick in water. Even huge airline groups such as IAG and Lufthansa have had to take drastic action. Now, the Air France-KLM Group has announced it will ground a number of larger aircraft.

Grounding the giant of the skies

Air France is the only half of the Air France-KLM Group to have taken delivery of the colossal Airbus A380. The airline became the second to begin retiring the A380, after just 10 years of service with the airline. In fact, it recently sent its first Airbus A380 to Knock in Ireland to be disassembled.

Air France Airbus A380, KLM Boeing 747, Grounded
The Boeing 747 has become iconic for KLM. Photo: alljengi via Flickr

Given that other airlines have been talking of grounding their Airbus A380s, including Lufthansa and Korean Air, it really was a surprise that Air France didn’t ground the beast sooner. However, as per a press release seen by Simple Flying, the French flag carrier will ground its double-decker fleet. Hopefully, this isn’t the end of the French giants of the sky.

KLM’s Boeing 747s grounded

Air France has already retired its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft with the last one leaving the fleet in 2016, some four years ago. For the time being, KLM had continued to operate its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, with the final retirement due some time next year. However, on Friday Simple Flying reported that the aircraft’s retirements will be sped up to the end of this month.

Simple Flying’s Paul Lucas quite possibly flew on one of the last KLM Boeing 747 flights, quite by accident. Yesterday he flew from Curaçao to Amsterdam aboard a KLM Boeing 747. However, the press release additionally revealed that the Dutch flag carrier will ground its fleet of 747s.

As such, it seems as though the sky blue Boeing 747 may not be seen in the skies many more times. There is, however, a slight glimmer of hope. According to the release, the Air France-KLM Group said,

”This reduction in capacity is currently scheduled to last two months, and the group will continue to monitor the evolution of the situation on a daily basis and adjust it if necessary”.

Have you flown on an Air France A380, or a KLM Boeing 747? Do you think this is the end of the runway for the two types? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.