When Will The Airbus A380 Actually Retire From All Airlines?

As we all know, Airbus ended its A380 program last month. The last Airbus A380 is expected to leave the assembly line in 2021. Singapore Airlines has already started retiring some of its A380s, while a couple of airlines are still awaiting the delivery of the aircraft. With that being said, when will the Airbus A380 actually retire from all airlines?

ANA Airbus A380
ANA’s inaugural A380 flight is scheduled to take place on May 24th, 2019. Photo: Airbus.

Current Airbus A380 Operators

Let’s take a look at all airlines currently operating the Airbus A380. Here is the list:

  • Air France
  • ANA (to start service between Tokyo – Narita (NRT) and Honolulu (HNL) in May)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • British Airways
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hi Fly
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways

ANA and Emirates still have A380s on order. Additionally, Simple Flying reported last month that British Airways may buy used A380 aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Boeing 747s. Accordingly, even though some airlines are considering the retirement of their A380s, there is still demand from other airlines.

What are the A380 operators’ plans for their aircraft?

Most of the current A380 operators have not clearly communicated their plans for the aircraft. Singapore Airlines has retired four A380s so far; however, one of them is still in service for Hi Fly. The other two are being used for spare parts, and the fate of the fourth one is unknown.

Singapore Airlines A380
Singapore Airlines was the first airline to retire one of its A380s. Photo: Wikipedia.

Qatar Airways has announced that it will start retiring its aircraft once they hit the 10-year mark. Accordingly, the airline will start the retirement of its 10 aircraft in 2024.

Air France will retire half of its 10 A380s beginning at the end of this year. The other five aircraft, however, will be upgraded to the tune of 45 million Euro per aircraft starting next year. It appears that Air France has plans to operate the five aircraft for several years to come; otherwise, the airline would most likely not invest this much money in them.

Air France A380-800
Air France had originally ordered 12 A380s. It converted two of the orders to orders for the A350 though. Photo: Wikimedia.

Emirates was originally planning on retiring its A380s after 12 years in service. The first aircraft entered service in 2008, so its retirement would be just around the corner. Nonetheless, the airline still has 14 A380s on order. It will most likely use these aircraft to replace the A380s it is retiring. The airline is scheduled to receive its last A380 aircraft in 2021. If it will also operate this aircraft for 12 years, it looks like the airline will fly the A380 until 2033.

Overall

At this time it is impossible to predict when the Airbus A380 will actually retire from all airlines. I would assume that the A380 will remain in service for at least another decade. There are most likely several factors that will influence this date, however. A sharp rise in the cost of fuel would almost certainly accelerate the retirement of the aircraft. Additionally, a lack of replacement parts and support for the aircraft would also lead to a faster retirement.

With that being said, I believe that we will see the Airbus A380 on some routes for years to come.

When do you think the Airbus A380 will actually retire from all airlines?

5 comments
  1. I strongly don’t think so! Although Airbus may stop production of A380 but those existing ones will continue long into the future due to some technical and marketing changes! Unlike concorde fast but too small passenger capacity, the 380 thru proper techniques and proper passengers allocations will continue to rule the sky! A lot of efforts and rigmarole has gone to make it air worthy, a little efforts must be made to keep it alive! Correct future changes might be so good that it may justify reproductions! I salute all those under the 380 umbrella! And long live the Sky King!

  2. You can’t fit 10 lbs in a 5 pound bag. Everything I read about capacity constraints, passenger volume increasing , and pilot shortages tells me there is a place for an aircraft like this. Or at least an upgraded, more efficient version of it. Especially on high volume routes.

    I think Emirates will find themselves in the cat birds seat, now and in the future, because they had the foresight to go all in on this aircraft.

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