Lufthansa Considers Grounding Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Lufthansa is considering grounding its entire fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft. The announcement comes as the German flag carrier looks to cut costs amid a huge fall in global travel demand.

Lufthansa, Coronavirus, Airbus A380
Lufthansa is considering grounding its entire Airbus A380 fleet as it deals with the effects of Coronavirus. Photo: Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak is having serious effects around the world. Airlines globally have seen a decrease in passenger demand due to the outbreak. As such, capacity has been slashed left, right and center. Now, Lufthansa, one of the world’s few Airbus A380 operators, has floated the idea of grounding its fleet of Airbus A380s temporarily. This is as the airline announced capacity will be cut by up to 50% in the coming weeks.

A slump in demand

Lufthansa has announced these latest measures to cope with a slump in demand. It should be noted that it is not definite that the A380 fleet will be grounded. Instead, it is merely an option that remains on the table.

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Lufthansa appears to be affected more than some others by the outbreak of the disease. It already canceled some Asia bound flights in recent weeks. However, it is now having to cancel many more short-haul flights.

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Lufthansa, Airbus A380, coronavirus
Lufthansa has a fleet of 14 Airbus A380 aircraft split across Frankfurt and Munich. Photo: Getty Images

14 Airbus A380

The Lufthansa Group currently operates 14 Airbus A380. All of these are operated by the German flag carrier, Lufthansa, which the group is named after. The law aircraft are split across its two hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

In a statement earlier today the German flag carrier said:

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“The extent to which the entire Airbus A380 fleet (14 aircraft) can be temporarily taken out of service in Frankfurt and Munich is currently being examined. This measure is designed to reduce the financial consequences of the slump in demand.”

What else is Lufthansa doing?

The measures to combat a fall in demand due to the global coronavirus outbreak aren’t limited to this Airbus A380 consideration, however.

Lufthansa, Airbus A380, Coronavirus
Germany’s flag carrier received its first Airbus A380 just under 10 years ago. Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa had effectively grounded 150 aircraft due to a fall in capacity. This was accompanied yesterday by an announcement from the airline that it had cut more than 7,000 flights from its schedule in March.

Lufthansa had said that it would need to cut up to 25% of short- and mid-haul flights as a result of the drop in demand. However, it seems as though the situation is slightly worse than the airline first though. Today it revised these figures. Now the German flag carrier has said that up to 50% of flights could be canceled in the coming weeks, depending on how the disease evolves.

Germany has the second-highest number of reported cases of the disease in Europe. According to World Health Organization data at the time of writing, 578 cases had been reported in Germany, behind 3,858 in Italy.

An excuse to ditch the A380?

Airlines are beginning to retire the first Airbus A380s after just 10 years in service. The aircraft require high load factors in order to remain economical, hence the reason for Lufthansa considering this temporary grounding.

The need for high load factors is a huge reason for why the Airbus A380 program is coming to an end, with just nine outstanding orders remaining. Hopefully, the measures that are being considered by Lufthansa are just temporary, and won’t eventually lead to the A380s being scrapped for the time being. Afterall, many who have flown in the superjumbo have had many good things to say about the experience.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s announcement? Is it a sensible course of action or an overreaction? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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mohave

The cruise ship industry will probably never recover. Las Vegas casinos mostly depend on air travel to spend disposable income when the economy is booming.

Mark Thompson

The grounding of their 380s will be permanent. The European economy is already weak and getting weaker. Germany insists on protectionist measures like claiming that U.S. crops are unsafe. Now that China is solved, Trump will respond with tariffs on European goods sending the EU spiraling into recession. No way Lufthansa will ever need 380s again ever.

Vincent Paul Shanley

What choice do they have? Better off using a 787 or 350 for now.

Krishna pradad Hiremagalur

Air Bus 380 is like a Comfortable House in Air.It is Very Comfortable and a Stable House in Air for Long distance Traveling.I am sadly Missing the Aircraft.

David Paton

The A380 is a excellent aircraft just to far advanced for today’s flyers and its struggling to break even as the high running cost are to high for a Aircraft that’s rarely full the Boeing 747 can breath a sigh of relief that they will still be most carriers plane of choice the older aircraft could be upgraded with advanced avionics and better layout!

Benno Harms

People have become completely hysterical about the present corona crisis. The are stealing entire bottles of desinfection fluids from dispensers in hospitals or even indulge into panic purchases of toilettepaper. Nobody remembers of the annual 20.000 people dieing from the common flu each year in Germany. Simply ridiculous!

Sue Doman

everything cleaned. We need to fly for our own business

Robin

I flown in a 380 operated by Emirates. I would say it is one of best air craft i ever experienced as a passenger. Even the pilots commends is one of the best aircraft where it is extremely responsive and easy ro handle. I ahould say we should do some improvements in A380 and should continue with project. Every airline handling A380 should look in to possibility of reducing there cost which makes posiible for the passengers to buy the tickets at an affordable price.

Pete

Wow, there is so much negativity in these comments that I feel like I’m watching network news. In America (as most western, industrialized nations), the coronavirus is a type of flu that has been blown waaaaay out of proportion.

Remember after September 11, 2001 everyone was saying the airlines, and travel industry itself, would never recover? Well, do I need to tell you how wrong that prediction was? There are less than 500 people in the US that have coronavirus with under 20 fatalities (most were very elderly people in nursing homes). To quote FDR: “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Brett Jacobi

The few of planes in the air should result in fewer mutations of the corona virus. That can’t be a bad thing .

Merlin S

While I understand the current situation, am quite shocked to hear about Lufthansa phasing out the A380. I have enjoyed traveling on A380 everytime I fly to Asia via Germany. In fact, I have been waiting for them to change out their onward flights between Germany & South east Asia and retire the aging 747s instead. There is so much demand for capacity on this route, even beyond the Atlantic. I will truly miss it and hope that Lufthansa thinks this one really hard before pulling the plug!

Mata

A380 is the aircraft ever. I always try to book my flights with the A380! One of the most advanced, quiet, roomy, comfortable plane, I can’t find the words to describe it. The best! It’s a huge disappointment to see it being grounded or even stop it’s production. I think the A380 is irreplaceable!!!

Harrison Chaulo

It is their only option, they can not fly the plane without sufficient passengers. They are in business they must make profit. The decision will also contribute positively to reduction of spread of the disease

Erik Quezada

It is sad to hear that Lufthansa is temporarily grounding all its A380 fleet.
I understand because most of my trips on flights LH456 and LH457 LAX-Frankfurt the A380 is used.
My last flight was two weeks ago Frankfurt-LAX and the A380 was a little less than half of its capacity.

Pat

Obviously the Airbus A380 is too advanced for the current traveling public. The palette of travelers needs an injection of sophistication, education and refinement before they will willingly shoehorn themselves into an 800 passenger tube from h**l.

John Hassett

I will never fly lufthansa again if they retire the Airbus early.

yinka dolapo

Eventually, airlines and cruise ship operators are going to make changes to their operations sure to drastic passenger slump. Emirates and Delta are found same and Lufthansa Sheryl’s be no exception. Qatar airways is also planning on some changes which even includes head count reduction. Tourism and passenger dependent industry are feeling the most effect of this virus outbreak.

Axel Armbruster

I am a frequent flyer on long distances Cpt – Bkk – Fra and love the A380. Soft landings very komfortabel even in economy class.will allways arrange my flight schedule to fly A380.

David M Hoffman 2

Sad if it is done, but a logical decision if it is done. The big double aisle twin engined airliners, B777 and A350, can carry the predicted near term future loads at a lower cost per ton-mile or per passenger-mile.

Shelly Thomas

I love that plane! Flew this week Frankfurt to Dulles and the plane was half(?) Full. Regardless of why, supply/demand dictates changes.

Bob

It is a great plane and very comfortable .

Steve Jones

Its a crying shame to see the Airbus A380 slowly disappearing from service. I have done many long haul travel in this plane and would never consider anything BUT this aircraft for distance travel. Boeing 777 just doesnt compared and is so uncomfortable. Hopefully this disease can be thwarted and the A380 returned to full capacity.

Monica Mukolo

Have always wanted to travel by Lufthansa to Frankfurt. Have always admired their fleet,…..i do not understand why they would cancel all 14 flights to Munich and Frankfurt airports. I totally think it is an overreaction….

James Anderson

I think it’s a great idea,and not take a risk of going bankrupt or financial slump. I am a former Commercial Truck Driver in the US. and if you’re not loaded both ways or wherever you stop even if you have to wait a day or two for a return load your loosing money, and any owner operator could mean the difference of keep making money and you keeping your business and truck or trucks or loosen it all. So I think they are looking at the big picture and survival.

ARUN ROY

Grounding is not going to bring down the cost of ops rather having H2H oos rotate them to hoping conx so that they are afloat and being utilised effectively. By the way myself an ex key account manager DEL worked under Axel Golfers.

Donald Stitt

Sounds quite reasonable to consider at this time.

Scheissefuergehirn

It sounds like a sensible decision to me. If you can’t fill the seats, you need to cut flights. Getting rid of the A380s would be a real shame though, they are wonderful quiet, spacious aircraft and I always select flights on them when I have a choice.

Barry

Good things to say about the A380 experience? It rakes forever to board, to deplane, to get tour luggage, and to wait in that long line at the service desk. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs …but who thinks having them around is a good idea? This thing is a dinosaur.

Donald Blaesser

If people are not flying what choose do they have? It’s no different than any other type of transportation. No people, no money,no flights.

Frank De Santis

The larger the plane the larger the loss. This is one large liability. Is there another choice?

Blond

Grounding ALL jet travel should have been instituted immediately when China began having its problems. It would have so much easier to eradicate this virus. All bets are off until this is done. In fact, eventually it will become a forced issue. We do NOT return to posts.

Dan S

My guess is that South American will get punished as their summer and fall ends and winter begins. Just as North America spreading of the virus will either cease or slow down as we end our winter and spring going into summer.

As for grounding of a/c…if its empty, park it.

Rifat Araz

I think under current circumstances it is the right decision. It is an awesome plane, I mean each time I see one it just amazes me but economical side it is not feasible to continue to operate this aircraft at half full or even less. It costs around $25000 an hour to operate so if you can’t cover the cost of flight. What is the purpose of keeping it in service? It is very sad and I hope this is not going to lead to demise of this beautiful aircraft completely.

Charles William Lange

Get them tubs outta the air

Marcia Murillo

Love Lufthansa way before A380 came about. A380 aircraft is just amazing that offers a lot of comfort to economy travelers like me for lack of funds like me. Better most come.

James Gulley

Had the pleasure of BA London to Dulles 2 years ago. Like sitting in a large room. Almost no sense of flying. Shame the economics might ground this magnificent machine for passenger flight.

Jose garcia ruiz

When airlines started to retire the 747 not only because of inefficiency but market share , it was evident a larger aircraft was not ideal, no one saw this virus outbreak except maybe China, today’s economy can not support this type of aircraft when disasters can affect its use,Aircraft like the a350 ,777 ,787 are more adaptable to circumstances and market shifts

Annette

My flight is may25 maybe this pandemic will be controlled by then.

Shaheed S Hasan

A380 is my most favorite plane in the world. I just flew from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy. This gorgeous plane is specious even in the economy class.
The most important thing is that this giant is so quite as is it is just floating on the cloud.I have flown on A380 at least 20 round trip very long flights since 2006 and every time I fly, it simply amazes me by the sheer size of it. I wish it could fly for next 100 years.

Shaheed S Hasan

A380 is my most favorite plane in the world. I just flew from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy. This gorgeous plane is specious eveA380 is my most favorite plane in the world. I just flew from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy. This gorgeous plane is specious even in the economy class.
The most important thing is that this giant is so quite as is it is just floating on the cloud.I have flown on A380 at least 20 round trip very long flights since 2006 and every time I fly, it simply amazes me by the sheer size of it. I wish it could fly for next 100 years. n in the economy class.
The most important thing is that this giant is so quite as is it is just floating on the cloud.I have flown on A380 at least 20 round trip very long flights since 2006 and every time I fly, it simply amazes me by the sheer size of it. I wish it could fly for next 100 years.

Bob

Flying Airbus A380 without coronavirus is uneconomical. Coronavirus has compounded the situation for Lufthansa. People have cut down on travels on their own to avoid contact with coronavirus. The direct consequence of this is the fall in demand for air travel. To mitigate the impact of the loss of revenue, the option to suspend the operations temporarily makes sense.

Patrick Nnamdi Chukwuma

I am of the very strong opinion that this move is a great idea. The best way to stop the spread of this disease is to reduce the movement of people from one point to the other, and my reason is simply as follows. It is very hard to detect one who is infected, and so by moving from point A to point B, the carrier would have successfully spread the disease and the transfer and transmission from person to persons continue. It is worth saving humanity at this point!

Patrick Nnamdi Chukwuma
Public Health Consultant

Richard Savacool

Hummm…. I hope they can ride this out and come out of it O. K.

Cecilia Carrión

Wow…. all this is a terrible news, My Husband and Me booked a trip to Budapest at the middle of April, we supposed to have 4 stops in Germany for others connections, what will happen with this already pay tickets?

Mr. Common Sense

Mohave: they said the same thing you did when Swine Flu 2.0, SARS, West Nile and the anthrax scare came around. It never happened. People are neurotically, even joyously hyperparanoid about these ‘outbreaks’; this, too, shall pass and make the TP-hoarding, mask-wearing Disease-Apocalyptics look stupid once more and life will go on as it always has, so don’t feed into it. In the meantime, let’s just use common hygiene, common sense and keep going. Next…

Mehboob pathan

It’s an overreaction.the A380 is a wonderful aircraft to fly on.Airlines should learn from Emirates.

Ravi

Right decision, considering current situation

Pablo

Is a sensible course of action because the outbreak of coronavirus; but as travelers are aware of prevention’s to not become exposed the claim can be kept as an option.

Ilija Gavran

Corona virus will destroy global economy.

Nelson DSilva

It is a prudent decision in the light of the fact that the spread of the virus does not seem to be showing signs of slowing.