Asiana And Korean Air To Retire Their Airbus A380s Within Five Years

The A380 has suffered another blow this week as Korean Air has confirmed that it will be retiring its superjumbos within the next five years, ending the type’s tenure of a decade and a half. However, the upcoming merger with Asiana means that it too will lose all six of its A380s, which have served less than a decade currently. Let’s find out more about the loss of two superjumbo operators.

Asiana A380
While there had been hopes that the new Korean Air-Asiana merger would create another major A380 operator, this won’t be happening. Photo: Getty Images


According to Executive Traveller, Asiana will follow Korean Air’s decision to ax the Airbus A380 from its fleet within five years. The private South Korean airline flies six superjumbos currently, which are some of the youngest in the skies. Having only taken its first delivery in 2014, Asiana’s A380s only average an age of 6.6 years.

However, these aircraft are unlikely to survive much longer than a decade. As the merger of Korean Air and Asiana begins to take shape, the decision to remove the A380 seems to have been set in stone. With the deal set to close in 2024, there is a small chance that the carrier will operate 16 A380s, but this will be at most for two years.

Korean Air Airbus A380-861 HL7615 (2)
Korean Air announced its four-engine retirement plans in late August. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

While disappointing to many, Asiana’s move hardly comes as a surprise. Considering Korean Air is buying the airline, it would make little sense to operate a smaller fleet of six planes while 10 are retired. Instead, Korean will focus on using twin-engine widebodies for most of its missions, while relying on the 747-8 for high-density ones. The 747s are here to stay for nearly another decade.

Two down

While Korean and Asiana aren’t saying goodbye to their A380s during the pandemic, it is certainly due to it. As the global aviation recovery still struggles to find its feet, there is little use for the 400+ seater jets currently. While the planes will likely make a comeback by next year or so, their efficiency remains largely in doubt compared to newer aircraft.

The decision will leave two fewer superjumbo operators going into the next half of the decade. While Emirates and Singapore Airlines will retain their top two positions, they will only be joined by four others for certain. For several other carriers, like Qatar Airways, the A380 plans remain a mystery.

Korean and Asiana both fly a diverse fleet of widebodies, including the 777, 787, and A350 families. Photo: Hyeonwoo Noh via Wikimedia Commons

Not the end

While the announcement of the A380s departure isn’t good, its continued presence is! The fact that Korean and Asiana will both maintain their A380s for the next five years is a shot in the arms for fans and another chance to fly the bird. Once these planes return to the skies, expect to see more travelers as the era of the double-decker jets begins to come to a close.

What do you think about Korean’s decision to retire the A380 in the next half-decade? Let us know in the comments!