Air France To Retire First Airbus A380 Superjumbo Next Month

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Air France is set to retire the first of its Airbus A380s next month. The plane in question emerged from a hangar at Malta International Airport today after being painted with an all-white livery.

Air France A380 In Air
The first of Air France’s Airbus A380 aircraft to be retired received a repaint ahead of the big day. Photo: Air France

New look

The A380-861 was painted in a neutral coating so it would be ready to go back to Dr. Peters Group, the company that it was leased from. The aircraft arrived in Malta last month for its paint job. With its makeover, it made its way back to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, one of the airline’s hubs.

The giant emerges. Former Air France Airbus A380-861 F-HPJB is pushed out of the ACM hangar on 13 December 2019 after…

Publisert av Malta Airport Movements by John Visanich Fredag 13. desember 2019

Registration F-HPJB has been with Air France since February 2010 and was made just over a decade ago.

Former Air France Airbus A380-861 F-HPJB was towed out of the ACM hangar in the early afternoon of 13 December 2019 after being repainted all white. It departed in the evening.

Publisert av Malta Airport Movements by John Visanich Fredag 13. desember 2019

Recently, this unit has mostly been used for flights between Paris and both coasts of the United States, with regular visits to Miami and Los Angeles. However, it has also been deployed on frequent operations to O. R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa.

Air France A380 At Airport
The carrier’s A380-800s have been used on long-haul operations across the continents. Photo: Air France

Fleet changes

The French flag carrier also has 10 other A380s within its fleet. Planespotters reports that F-HPJA was delivered in October 2009, making it the first of these airliners to arrive.

The latest arrival was F-HPJJ, which was delivered in June 2014. These other jets will also be phased out over the next few years. Ultimately, Air France plans for them to be removed completely by the end of 2022.

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This is part of an ongoing trend for airlines regarding operations with this widebody. Much like its counterparts, the carrier states high fuel costs, excessive CO2 emissions, and costly maintenance as reasons for the retirement.

Furthermore, it has shared that a competitive operating environment and the need for cabin refurbishments as other catalysts that spurred the move. Altogether, other firms that are accompanying Air France on this initiative include Qatar Airlines, Qantas, and Emirates. Although, the latter has shared that it is planning on building a corporate jet based on the type. 

Air France A380 Side
Despite being such a powerhouse, other planes are being preferred by several airlines for the next decade. Photo: Air France

Leaving a mark

The Airbus A380 was introduced in October 2007 with Singapore Airlines and was expected to be a major force in the skies for years to come.

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Its large capacity and powerful range will see it be remembered as a forceful unit. However, with more efficient aircraft being deployed across the globe, it will only be a memory for several airlines by the time the next decade is over.

Air France A380 In Sky
With many operators planning to phase out the aircraft, the A380’s goodbye could be coming sooner rather than later. Photo: Air France

Simple Flying reached out to Air France on its plans for the Airbus A380 retirement. A spokesperson has confirmed that the aircraft will be replaced by A350 models.

What are your thoughts on Air France’s Airbus A380 aircraft retirement? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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