China Southern has suspended its weekly passenger Airbus A380 service to London as countries worldwide react to a new strain of COVID-19 present in the UK capital. The airline has initially canceled the service for two weeks, although this could be extended if the airline sees fit.
Around 50 countries have closed their borders or implemented new travel restrictions for passengers from the United Kingdom. This has prompted Christmas misery for many, with airlines including Ryanair having to step in to operate repatriation flights. The list seems to be still growing, with some individual operators adding restrictions.
China Southern suspends A380 service
China Southern has suspended its Airbus A380 service to and from London, the United Kingdom’s capital. The airline’s A380 is currently operating passenger services from London to Guangzhou once a week on Thursdays. The Chinese carrier has canceled its services on December 24th and December 31st.
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China Southern is still selling tickets for its service on January 7th, suggesting that the suspension could last just two weeks. However, depending on how the situation pans out, the airline could cancel more flights moving forwards.
China Southern has also been operating regular Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights between Guangzhou and London Heathrow. These services appear to be running without passengers, perhaps keeping a cargo link open with the city. As such, it is unclear whether 787 services will be affected by the suspension.
Heathrow will still get Airbus A380s
For most airports lucky enough to have an Airbus A380 service right now, a carrier suspending its flights would mean a lack of the type at the airport. However, thanks to its hub status, this won’t be the case at London Heathrow.
Emirates will continue to fly Airbus A380s to its biggest pre-COVID market. Following the establishment of a travel corridor between the UK and the United Arab Emirates, the UAE carrier upped its daily A380 services to London to four. Since it has added a fifth Boeing 777 service.
However, due to the new strain of COVID-19 that has prompted China Southern to suspend its A380 service, much of Southeast England is currently in the United Kingdom’s Tier 4. This means that London residents, alongside many others from Heathrow’s catchment area are not allowed to travel abroad unless for ‘legally permitted reasons’.
British Airways’ A380s have been largely absent from the airline’s home base this year. The fleet spent much of the summer in Chateauroux, France. Since then, aircraft have been ferried to Madrid, Doha, and Tereul, a Spanish aircraft graveyard. It is unclear when they will return to London Heathrow for passenger flights.
When do you thin China Southern’s Airbus A380 will return to London Heathrow? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!