The A380 has been a part of the British Airways fleet for less than eight years. However, the type has already racked up an impressive number of hours flying for the British flag carrier, equating to over 32 years.
It is no secret that Airbus A380 fleets across the world are currently grounded due to the current crisis within the aviation industry. While travel demand is starting to recover, the giant of the skies will likely be one of the last aircraft types to return. Indeed, some of these aircraft will never fly again, such as the Air France fleet.
32 years of flights
British Airways’ oldest A380 took its first flight in November 2012, making it around seven and a half years old. However, the aircraft has only been flying for British Airways for around seven years, having been delivered in July 2013. According to data from the Civil Aviation Authority, as of May 11th, G-XLEA has accumulated 28,301 flight hours, equating to around 3.23 years of flight.
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Across the British Airways fleet, a total of 284,438 hours have been recorded by the Civil Aviation Authority. This equates to around 32.5 years of flying time. However, some of this data was captured as long ago as August last year, meaning that the actual number of hours flown by the fleet will be higher.
Breakdown by aircraft
When looking at the breakdown by aircraft, unsurprisingly, the first aircraft to be delivered has the most hours, and the newest aircraft has the fewest hours at an equivalent of around two years. However, the ranking isn’t sequential by the delivery date. Indeed, the airline’s fifth A380 to be delivered has the second-highest number of hours:
|Aircraft||Delivery||Hours Logged||Equivalent Years||Date Hours Logged|
|G-XLEA||July 2013||28,301||3.23||May 11th, 2020|
|G-XLEB||September 2013||25,983||2.97||August 5th, 2019|
|G-XLEC||October 2013||25,741||2.94||August 16th, 2019|
|G-XLED||January 2014||26,600||3.04||January 7th, 2020|
|G-XLEE||March 2014||27,021||3.08||February 27th, 2020|
|G-XLEF||May 2014||26,749||3.05||April 1st, 2020|
|G-XLEG||September 2014||22,585||2.58||August 14th, 2019|
|G-XELH||October 2014||23,413||2.67||September 19th, 2019|
|G-XLEI||February 2015||23,160||2.64||January 22nd, 2020|
|G-XLEJ||November 2015||18,742||2.14||November 9th, 2019|
|G-XLEK||February 2016||18,563||2.12||January 22nd, 2020|
|G-XLEL||June 2016||17,580||2.01||May 27th, 2020|
What’s the future for the fleet?
The majority of the British Airways Airbus A380 fleet is currently grounded. One aircraft recently flew to Manila for heavy maintenance (G-XLEH). This could be a good sign, as IAG would likely be reluctant to pay to maintain an aircraft if there was a reasonable chance that it would leave the fleet as a result of the current crisis. Indeed, planes with major maintenance pending are usually the first to go when a fleet is retired.
Another Airbus A380 is currently at London Heathrow, having completed two rotations to Johannesburg for repatriation flights. This aircraft, G-XLEG, recently returned from heavy maintenance in Manila.
The rest of the British Airways A380 fleet currently resides in Chateauroux, France. British Airways uses the airport for training. However, it has now taken on an additional role. Most of the British Airways A380 fleet was ferried here in April.
While Simple Flying expects the stored giants to remain put for quite a while, we currently understand that British Airways intends to operate them once more. Indeed, while the A380 has mostly been a failure, it has worked well for British Airways.
The airline has been able to condense busier routes onto the Airbus A380 to free up slots for other routes. Indeed, just two weeks before Airbus pulled the plug on the A380 program, IAG chief Willie Walsh was still saying he would take more A380s at the right price.
Do you miss the British Airways A380? When will they fly again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.