With the production of the A380 coming to an end in 2021, many are concerned that we’ll no longer get to fly the giant of the skies. But with Airbus confirming to Simple Flying that they ‘support and promote’ the second hand market for the A380, the short term future for the plane, at least, is looking pretty bright.
When we reported on the forthcoming fleet shake up at Lufthansa, we were surprised to hear that the airline was planning to sell six of its A380s back to Airbus. With the A380 project for the chop, it was surprising to hear the manufacturer was willing to take back these planes.
Airbus told us at the time:
“Airbus supports and promotes the A380 second-hand market.”
But how do they support it, and who are they promoting it to?
Who wants a second hand A380?
The Airbus A380 is still fairly young, with the first aircraft only entering into service 12 years ago. They are well away from the end of their useful life, but even so we’ve already seen A380s sent for scrap, as it’s not a well-loved model by the majority of the world’s carriers.
However, not all A380s are unwanted, as even British Airways have said they could be interested in second hand models. With their iconic 747s coming to the end of their lifespan, the A380 could fill the gap very nicely indeed.
The first operator of a second hand A380 was Hi Fly. The wet leasing company took delivery of MSN006 in July last year, after it came to the end of its 10 year lease with Singapore Airlines. They have since indicated they would be keen to buy more too.
Their decision to make use of the Airbus A380 was well timed, as it was able to step in and fill gaps in the schedules when the 787 was grounded due to turbine blade problems.
When Hi Fly bought their A380 last year, they received full support from Airbus. This included a package of measures to help them bring it into service effectively. Among other things, Airbus included onsite field service and a flight hour services for components offer.
That’s a pretty valuable offer for any airline, and a clear demonstration of Airbus’s commitment to getting second hand A380s back in the air.
Why do Airbus support the second hand market?
Airbus have been clear for some time that they’re keen to support the second hand market for the A380. Commenting on the Hi Fly purchase, Catherine Bras, Airbus’ A380 business development platform leader, said:
“From the beginning we knew it would be good for us to help build a market for second-hand aircraft. We think this is a great opportunity to show what the aircraft can do. There may be some airlines that were hesitant to commit long-term who can now try out an A380 and see what it can do for them. This could help create new routes and expand the market base.”
The manufacturer has also said they see wet leasing as a lucrative area in which the A380 can be used. Wet leasing often provides a solution where seasonality is the problem, and if a route requires substantial capacity for a short while, the A380 is the aircraft that can deliver the maximum seats.
Whether other wet lessors or even direct carriers will step up and take second hand A380s remains to be seen. However, we suspect that Airbus probably already have a buyer in mind. We’re looking forward to finding out who it is.
Who do you think will take Lufthansa’s six A380s?