The Airbus A380 – What Airlines Actually Fly The World’s Largest Passenger Plane?

Some say the A380 was a massive mistake while others say it was ahead of its time. And then there are those who just love flying on this beast of an airplane. The massive four-engine, full double-decker is an engineering marvel. Unfortunately, it has fallen out of favor with airlines around the world and will cease production when the last orders have been fulfilled. For those wanting to experience the A380, here are the airlines that still fly the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Emirates A380 flying above clouds
Emirates has 112 A380s in its fleet. Photo: Emirates

1. Emirates

Emirates A380 onboard lounge
The Qantas A380 lounge never tapped the zeitgeist like the Emirates lounge has. Photo : Wikimedia

By far the largest operator of the A380, Emirates was the biggest factor in the A380s success and failure (program closure). As Emirates only currently operates the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380, you have a good chance of getting on the super-jumbo.

  • Fleet Size: 112
  • Plan for retirement: The world’s biggest operator of the A380 is planning for their retirement in the 2030s. The airline will also take 40 A330-900 aircraft and 30 A350-900 aircraft from Airbus, with deliveries slated to start in 2021.
  • Fun fact: The Emirates A380s include a shower that is available to its first class passengers. Premium suites have privacy doors and a personal mini-bar. The Emirates A380 has its ‘Onboard Lounge’ where passengers can “Enjoy a selection of treats, kick back with a cocktail or indulge in global conversation with fellow passengers.”

2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines
Two A380s that once flew for Singapore Airlines have already been broken down for parts. Photo: Singapore Airlines
  • Fleet Size: 24
  • Plan for retirement: According to One Mile at a Time, some of the Singapore A380 fleet went back to their leasing company. Australian website Traveller reports that two of them have been scrapped, broken up for parts.
  • Fun fact: According to Wikipedia, the airline offered their Singapore Airlines Suites only on the A380. Originally introduced in October 2007, the special class was designed by French luxury yacht interior designer Jean-Jacques Coste. It consisted of separate compartments with walls and doors that were 1.5m high. 10 years later the suites were updated in 2017 offering the same standard of luxury with an updated feel. The updated suite also had a separate wireless touchscreen control tablet to control lighting, windows, and service calls.
Singapore Airlines A380 First Class double suite (two seats). Photo: Singapore Airlines

3. Lufthansa

The airline has 14 Airbus A380s in total. Photo: Lufthansa
  • Fleet Size: 14
  • Plan for retirement: According to World Airline News, Lufthansa will sell six A380 aircraft and replace them with 20 Boeing 787-9 aircraft and 20 Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The new planes are scheduled to arrive between late 2022 and 2027.
Lufthansa First Class
Lufthansa’s first class cabin on the Airbus A380. Photo: Lufthansa

4. British Airways

British Airways, Brexit, Willie Walsh
British Airways doesn’t operate the Airbus A380 on its New York route. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying
  • Fleet Size: 12
  • Plan for retirement: Earlier this year, the Japan Times reported that British Airways announced a multibillion dollar order for up to 42 Boeing 777s. These will eventually replace its fleet of A380s and 747s.
  • Fun Fact: The BA A380 has a capacity of 469 passengers in four classes: First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller. Destinations out of London Heathrow include Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, San Francisco, and Singapore.
ritish Airways A380 Business class
British Airways A380 Business class. Photo: British Airways

5. Qantas

Qantas Airbus A380
Qantas will only operate the A380 for ‘up to’ 10 years. Photo: Qantas
  • Fleet Size: 12
  • Plan for retirement: Qantas has confirmed that the A380 will be phased out within the next 10 years. It’s still uncertain what will replace these jets. Keep your eyes open for news regarding Project Sunrise as that should be a good indication!
  • Fun Fact: According to Business Traveller, the A380 comes with a small lounge at the front of its upper deck. This lounge is shared with business class passengers and offers a few sofa seats.
Qantas
The new business class on the A380. Photo: Qantas

6. Air France

Air France A380
All Air France A380s will be retired by 2022 Photo: Air France
  • Fleet Size: 10
  • Plan for retirement: According to Sam Chui, Air France will retire its Airbus A380 fleet by 2022. The airline is currently assessing the A330neo as a replacement option.
  • Fun Fact: The AF A380 La Première/First cabin offers a private area for passengers to change, “complete with dressing table, locker and high-quality beauty products.” Similar to Emirates, Air France offers a bar exclusively for La Première/First passengers with a buffet.
La Premiere A380
The open suites of La Premiere on the Air France A380. Photo: Andy Mitchel via Flickr

7. Etihad

Etihad’s A380s will still have seatback screens in Economy class. Photo: Etihad
  • Fleet Size: 10
  • Plan for retirement: No dates have been set for the aircraft to be phased out. However, according to a report by Forbes, rumors circulated last year that Etihad was considering deferring or canceling a number of orders for Boeing’s $426 million 777X aircraft. Etihad also has 40 A350-900 and 22 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft on order. It has yet to receive any of these aircraft. If delivery takes place, these aircraft would eventually replace the A380 fleet.
  • Fun Fact: The Residence on Etihad’s A380 offers a living room, a separate bedroom and ensuite shower room. This is the only three-room suite on a commercial airline, designed for two people traveling together.

8. Korean Air

Korean Asiana A380
Korean Air has 10 A380s flying out of its Seoul Incheon hub. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
  • Fleet Size: 10
  • Plan for retirement: Uncertain. Originally One Mile at a Time/AirLive reported Korean Air’s plans to retire its A380s. However, after the article went public, a Korean Air spokesperson reached out to indicate that the information from AirLive was incorrect. The airline doesn’t have plans to retire any of its A380s in the near future.

9. Qatar Airways

Qatar 777X
Qatar will retire its A380s after 10 years of service; they will be replaced by the 777X. Photo: Airbus
  • Fleet Size: 10
  • Plan for retirement: According to Live and Lets Fly, Qatar’s CEO said: “We would think about retiring those airplanes on their 10th anniversary, unless something untoward happens and we need them.”. Akbar Al Baker says Qatar Airways plans to replace the A380s with brand new Boeing 777Xs. They have 60 due from the manufacturer.
  • Fun Fact: Qatar’s A380s also have a lounge. This common area allows passengers to socialize, read magazines, as well as dine and drink.
Qatar Airways has an open suite First Class on its A380s. Photo: Qatar Airways

10. Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines A380
Only the Asiana Airlines Airbus A380s contains first class suites. Photo: lasta29 via Wikimedia
  • Fleet Size: 6
  • Plan for retirement: Uncertain. According to website Blue Swan Daily, Asiana Airlines says it will keep all six of its A380s to serve long haul routes. The airline will retire a Boeing 767 this year and also has plans to gradually phase out its aging fleet of 747s sometime in the near future.
  • Fun Fact: This September, Asiana Airlines will run a 2.5 hour A380 service between Seoul Incheon and Taipei Taoyuan. A fairly short flight for such a large jet! Asiana’s A380s have 495 seats, including 12 first class seats, 66 business class seats, and 417 economy seats.

11. Malaysia Airlines

A380
Time is running out for Malaysia Airlines. Photo: Wikimedia
  • Fleet Size: 6
  • Plan for retirement: Malaysia Airlines’ original plan was to use their new Airbus A350s to replace their A380s. According to One Mile at a Time, the airline was hoping to sell their A380s. Unfortunately, a lack of interest forced them to hold on to the jets. This year, Malaysia Airlines launched a new airline called Amal, that will run Malaysia A380 flights from South East Asia to Saudi Arabia for Islamic Pilgrimage.
business class Malaysia
The ‘premium business suite’ the A380. Photo: Malaysian Airlines

12. Thai Airways

Thai Airways Airbus A380 in flight
Thai Airways operates a fleet of 6 A380s. Photo: Wikimedia.
  • Fleet Size: 6
  • Plan for retirement: Uncertain. We couldn’t find any sources discussing a Thai Airways plan for the retirement of their A380 fleet.
  • Fun Fact: A Thai Airways aircraft was forced to cancel its journey from Paris to Bangkok due to minor damaged caused by a catering truck. This left over 400 passengers and crew members stranded in Paris for an extra day while the aircraft underwent repairs and maintenance checks.

13. China Southern

A China Southern Airbus A380-800 Photo: Wikipedia
  • Fleet Size: 5
  • Plan for retirement: Uncertain. Like Thai Airways, we couldn’t find any sources discussing a China Southern plan for the retirement of their A380 fleet.
  • Fun Fact: A China Southern A380 was suffered significant damage flying through a hail storm this past May.

14. All Nippon Airways (ANA)

ANA’s three A380s come as different colors of honu – special sea turtles. Photo: ANA
  • Fleet Size: 2 (one more on the way)
  • Plan for retirement: ANA is one of the last carriers to order the A380. With one more still on the way, it’s far too early to talk retirement for these planes!
  • Fun Fact: Each cabin class on ANA’s A380s are equipped with a bar counter where passengers can “help themselves to drinks and snacks”. These jets also feature “COUCHii: The very first couch seat to be offered by a Japanese airline.” This feature consists of 3 or 4 seats and has raisable leg rests so that the combined seats can be used as a bed (complete with its own bedding).
ANA A380 COUCHii
ANA COUCHii. Photo: ANA

Conclusion

Do you love or hate the A380? Maybe this opinion is airline-dependent? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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st

Would be great the same article but with photos about their interiors 😉

I think the A380 is not ahead of its time.
Its just too big, life is problematic with it.
(Consumption, flexibility, airports, no of crew. Etc)

But, the world need it, as much as we had need the Concorde or 747.
The A380 belong to this group.

Stuart McDonald

yes , I agree to a certain extent, I love the 380 ,ive flown on it many times,Yes they may be big and thirsty, But everyday,they ferry thousands of travellers to their destinations,with great comfort and reliability,Which cant be said for a fair number, of the new twin engine options, many dreamliners and the likes are being diverted, or kept grounded ,through engine issues, The new 777X hasnt left the ground yet,and it already has problematic engine issues,in the meantime the 380 pushes on .With Qantas Australia ,looking at flying Sydney to London,in the future .with a Twin engine aircraft… Read more »

Ken O Richards

Love the airplane, one of the best passenger experience ever. After 16hrs from LAX-DXB I was sad the flight had to end.

justin

I think it was a bit ahead of its time and maybe 10 or 15 years down the road it will be back. we must not forget we have India that is starting to travel the world, 1 billion more Chinese to start travelling and the African continent coming after that.

justin

forgot to add I love flying on this plane

Axel

We go out of our way to fly on this plane.

Tom Boon

It’s worth it in my opinion Axel!

kdhk

It will not come back once it’s gone though a newly designed jumbo may eventually come. The A380 is behind the times in the areas that matter. It carries more weight per seat than just about any other airliner and even though it should have the economies of scale and better technology, the fuel burn per seat when full is about the same as the 1990s 777 which is a much older design. However, the 777 is much more reliable, has better underfloor cargo capacity, is easier to fill up and like the 747, is also capable as a dedicated… Read more »

Nigel

Seeing as development of the A380 started in the 1990s, it’s not surprising that its fuel economy is comparable to the 1990s 777.
Just like the A380, the 777 is also dying: the 777-8 is on the way to the undertaker, and the 777-9 has paltry order numbers (and a $5 billion development price tag so far — ouch!). Remember that a full A350 is lighter than an empty 777-9 😉
Interestingly, even though it’s a 1990s design, the A380 has better longhaul fuel economy than the 747-8, which appeared 15 years later.
The future lies with the 787 and A350.

Roy

Just LOVED the A380 from YVR to LHR and return with BA. Had quit flying with them because of their tired worn out old 747’s. Please don’t tell me they’ll be going back to those junkers. If so, I’ll be going with Transat.

Nigel

You’ll upset the Boeing cronies if you speak negatively of the 747: they’re still in love with the “Queen of the Skies”…even though she’s now an old hag in a wheelchair.
Did you notice how you could whisper in the A380 and still be understood? Try that in a screaming 747 wreck 😉
And did you notice the huge amount of space between the window seat and the side wall of the aircraft?

tTaguan

Personnellement je préfère le 747, que je trouve beaucoup plus majestueux
mais j’aime également l’a380, je trouverais ça dommage qu’on le retire déjà de service !