British Airways Rumored To Fly The A380 To Frankfurt And Madrid

British Airways is rumored to be planning Airbus A380 flights to both Frankfurt and Madrid next month, according to Head for Points. The flights would allow the airline to conduct crew training on short-haul flights. As the aircraft has been grounded for so long, it would be akin to the entry to service of a new aircraft, as was recently seen with the Airbus A350.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
British Airways is rumored to be planning short-haul Airbus A380 flights in November. Photo: British Airways

The A380 hasn’t been the success that Airbus had hoped, with almost all aircraft ending up grounded at the height of the pandemic. Despite this, the aircraft is beginning to bounce back, with British Airways known to be keen to fly the giant of the skies once more.

Frankfurt and Madrid?

According to internal documents seen by Head For Points, British Airways is looking to bring the Airbus A380 back from November 8th. However, the airline has a problem. With the aircraft being grounded for so long, many of the airline’s crew are now classed as unfamiliar with the aircraft.

To solve this, British Airways is reportedly planning short-haul flights with the aircraft. From November 8th, it has been suggested that the giant of the skies will operate two daily rotations. In the morning, the aircraft is expected to fly to Frankfurt and back in the morning, followed by a Madrid rotation in the afternoon.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
Training flights are expected to go to Frankfurt and Madrid. Photo: Cirium

British Airways is yet to confirm this, and aircraft changes are always possible. With this in mind, those looking to fly on the giant of the skies shouldn’t rush to book before confirmation as they could end up disappointed.

Long-haul would follow

Once the crew’s familiarisation of the jet has been completed, British Airways will be looking to return the jets to the long-haul routes with the highest demands and most constrained slot restrictions. According to British Airways’ current schedule information retrieved by Cirium, the A380 isn’t due back into the air until March 2022, when the IATA summer timetable begins. However, it has always been said that the airline could move this date forwards or back depending on demand.

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Head For Points reports that the aircraft may return to service in early December. While still to be confirmed, the publication suggests that three US destinations could see the aircraft alongside one in the Middle East.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
Long-haul flights would naturally follow. Photo: Cirium

Miami (MIA) is currently earmarked to receive the A380 as of December 3rd. Dubai (DXB) would follow on December 5th. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) is suggested for December 7th, with Los Angeles (LAX) following on December 9th. Again, this is not confirmed by the airline and could be subject to change. HFP reports that Dallas Fort Worth’s launch could be delayed while facilities to handle the A380 are implemented.

A massive increase in capacity

Placing the A380 on flights to Frankfurt would lead to a considerable increase in available seats on the route. The airline has been placing the Boeing 787 on the route to allow additional cargo capacity. In general, the extra capacity of the A380 would likely not be needed on the route, although a first flight could prove incredibly popular.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
Short-haul A380 flights could prove to be incredibly popular. Photo: British Airways

As the November schedule currently stands, British Airways’ mainline operations only have the Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 (ceo and neo) scheduled to fly from London Heathrow to Frankfurt.

With an all 3-3 layout, the A319 seats up to 144, while the A320 seats up to 180 in an all-economy configuration. When a business class cabin is in use, middle seats at the front of the aircraft aren’t allocated. By contrast, the Airbus A380 seats up to 469 in a fixed four-class cabin. This is a 160% increase on an all-economy configured Airbus A320.

Onboard the Airbus A380

British Airways has a slightly different Airbus A380 configuration than many other airlines. Many airlines place their most premium cabins at the front of the upper deck to make use of the large toilets at the front of the aircraft. Emirates includes showers for first class passengers in these.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
British Airways bucks the trend, placing its top cabin on the A380’s main deck. Photo: British Airways

Instead, British Airways has placed its first class cabin at the front of the lower deck. The airline previously told Simple Flying that this was to make use of the wider cabin width on the lower deck. 14 First seats are installed in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Read more: Inside The British Airways A380: A Complete Tour

There are three cabins on each deck, with two cabins split between two levels. Behind first class on the main deck is the first Club World cabin. Featuring British Airways’ older eight abreast business class, the cabin features 44 seats in a 2-4-2 layout, with each row actually seating the same amount of passengers as the upper economy deck.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
The Club World cabin is one of two cabins split between two decks. Photo: British Airways

At the rear of the main deck are 20 rows of economy in a ten-abreast 3-4-3 layout. Ascending the rear spiral staircase, passengers find themselves in the upper economy cabin. This is slightly more comfortable with 13 rows of 2-4-2 economy seating due to the decreased width of the cabin. Window seat passengers get additional storage space at their side.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
World Traveller Plus has the same layout as the upper business class cabin. Photo: British Airways

Ahead of economy is the airline’s only premium economy cabin on the aircraft, World Traveller Plus. Here, there are seven rows of 2-3-2 and an extra two rows of middle seats, giving a total of 55 reclining seats.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Frankfurt, Madrid
There are 303 economy seats on the British Airways A380. Photo: British Airways

Finally, at the front of the upper deck is an extended Club World cabin. These seats are placed in a 2-3-2 configuration like World Traveller Plus. Two cabins of four rows are separated by a galley and toilet area situated at the front exit row, often used to board the upper deck.

Are you excited to hear British Airways may bring the Airbus A380 back next month? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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