A Look At The First 2 Weeks Of BA’s Short-Haul A380 Operations

It’s been two weeks since British Airways reintroduced its Airbus A380s to the fleet. The aircraft has been flying short-haul European hops for crew familiarization before the superjumbo is redeployed abroad. The return of the plane has been met with great fanfare too, with aviation enthusiasts all trying to get onboard.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Doha
The A380 is back in action and many are excited to fly on the jet again. Photo: Getty Images

Going strong!

It’s been just under two weeks since the first British Airways A380 returned to the skies. The aircraft has been flying from its home in London Heathrow to Frankfurt Main Airport and Madrid Barajas Airport. These flights are part of a one-month crew familiarization process to prepare for international flights.

The first A380 flight departed London on the morning of 8th November. This flight, understandably, garnered quite the media attention, with aviation geeks from around the world awaiting the return of the superjumbo to regular service.

British Airways, Airbus A380, San FranciscoOur very own Content Manager Tom Boon spotted the A380 on its way out from Frankfurt last week! Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

It’s become a common sight at Frankfurt, Madrid, and London for passengers to photograph the aircraft before departure, with many explicitly choosing specific timings for the A380. Don’t miss the steady stream of YouTube reviews too!

Meanwhile, planespotters perched outside the airport have been providing some excellent shots of the superjumbo’s takeoff and landings. Here’s just one for reference!

Two up

Currently, two A380s have been reactivated by British Airways, G-XLEF and G-XLEG. Under the short-haul schedule, the aircraft have been alternating services to Frankfurt and Madrid. In total, the airline will bring back four superjumbos to service.

While only economy and business class are on sale (since this is a short-haul European flight), the crew have been allowing Avgeeks to take some photos upstairs occasionally! For those looking to try the A380 without having to fly far away, you have until December 2nd. Here are the services that you can fly:

  • BA 462 – 15:15 London Heathrow – 18:45 Madrid
  • BA 463 – 20:15 Madrid – 21:30 London Heathrow
  • BA 902 – 07:10 London Heathrow  – 09:55 Frankfurt
  • BA 903 – 11:25 AM Frankfurt  – 12:15 PM London Heathrow

Schedules differ slightly on Saturday, more on that here.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Return To Service
After 2nd December, the A380 is heading back to transatlantic routes and other long-haul flights across the globe. Photo: British Airways

Short-haul flights are important for any crew familiarization program. While this is usually for new aircraft types, such as the BA A350 flying to Madrid, the pandemic has meant the A380 has been out for service for 18 months.

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What’s the next

If you’d rather fly the full British Airways A380 experience, the jet is coming back there too. The first three cities to see the plane will be the highest-demand ones, Dubai, Miami, and Los Angeles. The latter two are particularly important after the US reopened its border, allowing hundreds of thousands of UK residents to visit the country again. Meanwhile, Dubai remains one of the busiest tourist destinations in the globe, explaining the A380’s presence.

More routes will be added in early 2022 as well, with South Africa being added in January, San Francisco, Dallas, and Singapore in late March.

What do you think about the BA’s European A380 routes? Let us know in the comments!