Today, British Airways is flying an Airbus A380 from London to Manila. The flight is the first time that a BA Airbus A380 has taken to the skies in over a month. Here’s why that’s good news…
Yesterday was another bad day in the Airbus A380 saga, with negative news coming from three carriers. By far the worst was Air France announcing that it would retire its entire fleet of A380 aircraft. Then news broke that Emirates was reportedly looking to cancel five of its remaining A380 deliveries. Finally, Lufthansa announced that they would no longer operate the type from Frankfurt.
Today’s British Airways Airbus A380 flight
Today saw a British Airways Airbus A380 return to the skies for the first time in over a month. The aircraft, G-XLEH, was the eighth aircraft to be delivered to the British flag carrier. The plane departed from London Heathrow at 08:24 local time.
Following its departure, the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 39,000 feet, passing over the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. The giant plane is currently estimated to touch down in its destination, Manila, at around 03:37.
Why is this good news?
The fact that British Airways is flying an Airbus A380 to Manila should come as good news to those worried that IAG may be considering retiring the type along with other airlines. British Airways utilizes the Lufthansa Technik maintenance facility in Manila for its Airbus A380 heavy maintenance. It is one of several airlines that uses this facility.
Deciding to send an aircraft for heavy maintenance is no small task. Indeed, such maintenance can be planned years in advance with costs running into the millions of dollars. This is why its such good news that British Airways is sending an A380 for maintenance.
Given the cost and number of working hours involved in this type of heavy maintenance, airlines will usually retire an aircraft when such a check comes up if they’re looking to get rid of it. After all, given the cost involved, you likely wouldn’t want to invest lots of money into an aircraft only to phase it out weeks later.
This leads us to why today’s Airbus A380 flight could be good news for the British Airways fleet. The airline’s owners had mooted early retirement of the Boeing 747. It wouldn’t be unfair to wonder if retiring the A380 could be on the cards.
However, if IAG were considering that retiring its entire fleet of Airbus A380s was a reasonable possibility, it would make no sense to fork out to have the maintenance done in case it was useless. Given that the majority of the world’s A380 fleet is currently grounded, it likely wouldn’t be hard to defer the maintenance in terms of Lufthansa Technik’s scheduling.
What do you think? Is today’s flight a good thing for the British Airways Airbus A380 fleet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!