Return Of The Double Decker: BA Resumes Long-Haul A380 Flights

Today is the day. Despite a recent change in policy by the UK Government, British Airways is resuming long-haul services with the giant A380, over a year and a half since the entire fleet was grounded with an uncertain future. The first service should depart for Dubai at around 12:25 this afternoon.

British Airways A380
British Airways’ Airbus A380s are returning to long-haul service today. Photo: British Airways

Things looked pretty hit and miss for the Airbus A380 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. All bar one airline grounded the type. Additionally, some airlines, such as the German flag carrier Lufthansa, have revealed that their jets will never return to the skies. British Airways sees a different future for the plane, though.

Seeking the sun in Dubai

At 12:35, flight BA 106 is set to take to the skies in much the same way as it has for the past few months. Today, however, something will be a little bit different. The aircraft used for the flight will rival that used by Emirates, with two complete decks. That’s right, the Airbus A380.

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From today, British Airways will operate a daily Airbus A380 to Dubai, rivaling Emirates on its most prestigious route. The return of the A380 to Dubai marks the start of a journey to recovery for the giant jet.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Long Haul
British Airways is taking on Emirates at its own game. Photo:

Over the next week, the British flag carrier will add another two routes to the Airbus A380’s roster. Between them, they will require at least four of the airline’s A380 jets, and so far around as many aircraft have been brought out of storage. The airline intends to reactivate further A380s over the coming months, allowing more routes to join the network.

Will the full fleet return?

At this point, it seems inevitable that the entire Airbus A380 fleet will return for several reasons. Firstly, British Airways signed a maintenance agreement with Lufthansa Technik earlier this year covering maintenance for the whole fleet of 12 aircraft through to mid-2027. In addition to this, some of the planes that the airline has already withdrawn from storage would’ve been the obvious choice to scrap if the fleet was to be reduced at all.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Long Haul
The airline will need at least 11 A380s to operate BA’s planned schedule in April. Photo: Simple Flying

Finally, we just need to look at the airline’s current schedule for April, when seven Airbus A380 routes will be on the plan according to aviation data experts Cirium. As some of the rotations come close to or exceed 24 hours in length, the airline will need 11 Airbus A380s to operate its full planned schedule with the giant jet. With this in mind, it would make sense for the 11th jet to stand in for maintenance and other unexpected events that may crop up at short notice.

Are you excited to see British Airways returning the Airbus A380 to service? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!