Six European airlines placed orders for the Airbus A380. With Russia’s Transaero, France’s Air Austral, and Britain’s Virgin Atlantic not keeping their orders, only half of the airlines followed through. First, was the French flag carrier Air France, followed by the German flag carrier Lufthansa.
Finally, British flag carrier British Airways took delivery of its first jet. These are all countries where major A380 components were built. None of the airlines are currently flying the plane, but which got the most use out of the plane before the onset of the pandemic?
Lufthansa has the highest total usage
Yesterday, Lufthansa said goodbye to its last Airbus A380. While it is the end of the line for the airline’s giants, the German flag carrier certainly seemed to get its money’s worth from the jets. According to data from ch-aviation.com, Lufthansa has recorded the highest absolute usage of any airline.
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This is no surprise as the airline had 14 A380s compared to 12 at British Airways and ten at Air France. In total, the 14 jets had an average age of 9.95 years. Between them, they have logged 504,912 flight hours (57.64 years) across 51,922 flights. This means that, on average, each German Airbus A380 has flown for 36,065 hours (4.12 years) with 3,709 flights.
Air France has the highest average usage
With just ten A380s, Air France has a lower total A380 usage than Lufthansa, despite the average fleet age coming in older at 10.61 years. In total, the Air France fleet flew for 363,123 hours (41.45 years) across 40,445 flight cycles. While this is lower than Lufthansa, both the average flight hours and cycles per aircraft sit slightly higher than Lufthansa at 36,312 hours (4.15 years) and 4,045 cycles. Air France was the first airline to totally retire its fleet, so this number won’t climb in the future.
Could British Airways edge ahead?
As of today, the average age of the British Airways A380s is considerably lower than the other two European carriers at 7.44 years. As such, it is no surprise that they’ve had the least usage so far. Combined, the 12 giants have flown for 297,745 hours (33.99 years). On average, each has flown 24,812 hours (2.83 years) across 2,503 flight cycles.
While the mileage on Air France and Lufthansa’s A380s are unlikely to increase, this isn’t the case at British Airways. Last week, Simple Flying revealed that the airline had removed its first A380 from long term storage. In addition, the airline has signed lengthy maintenance contracts with Lufthansa Technik for the 12 airliners.
It’s unclear how long the type will remain in service, but it could well beat the 57.64 years currently clocked by the Lufthansa fleet.
Have you flown on a European Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!