The Lufthansa Group has announced that it will retire six of its Airbus A380 aircraft with immediate effect. The move has been directly attributed to the current pit of travel demand that the aviation industry has found itself in.
A little under a month ago, Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa was considering grounding its whole fleet of Airbus A380s. Clearly, much has changed since then.
Originally due to go in 2022
The six Airbus A380s that have today been withdrawn from service permanently were already earmarked to leave the Lufthansa fleet. These six aircraft had been due to be sold back to Airbus in 2022.
It is initially unclear exactly what will happen to these Airbus A380s now. They won’t be flying any longer for Lufthansa. Unfortunately, the airline has stated that they will be permanently decommissioned. While Airbus was keen to cultivate a second hand Airbus A380 market, this is the exact aircraft that airlines don’t want right now. In fact, even British Airways, a keen user of the type, has begun storing A380s.
Why the Airbus A380?
The Airbus A380 is the marmite of the aviation industry, you either love it, or you hate it. Much of the aviation community are huge fans of the giant of the skies. However, the aircraft’s huge capacity and four engines can be a drawback for its operators.
During normal operations, the aircraft works incredibly well for some carriers, however, Lufthansa had already earmarked these six aircraft for sale. Of course, now the aviation industry is in anything but normal operations.
In a press release seen by Simple Flying, Lufthansa’s board believes it will take years until aviation reaches the same level of demand that it had before the current crisis. As such, the airline has decided to target retirements based on “the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft types”.
As such, it seems as though the Airbus A380 is a victim of its design in this case. The aircraft’s four engines mean that it uses more fuel than it otherwise would. However, the Airbus A380 isn’t the only victim. Alongside the six A380s, seven A340-600s, three A340-300s, and five Boeing 747-400s won’t fly for the German flag carrier again.
Lufthansa’s Airbus A380 fleet
Lufthansa has a fleet of 14 Airbus A380s. These were due to be equally split between operations at Frankfurt and Munich. However, they are now mostly resting their wings. It is unclear exactly which aircraft are being removed from the Lufthansa fleet. One would assume it would be a mix of older aircraft and any with major services upcoming.
Lufthansa’s A380s seat a total of 509 passengers. Eight in first class, 78 in business class, 52 in premium economy, and 371 in economy.
The airline’s fleet is aged between five and 10 years old. Of course, this will leave Lufthansa with eight operational Airbus A380s. However, capacity will obviously be cut at Frankfurt and Munich as a result of this action.
What do you make of the Airbus A380’s early retirement? Far too soon or good riddance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!