The First Retired A380 Has Now Been Scrapped

The first retired A380 has found its way to the scrap heap, only slightly over a decade old. The scrapping process took 11 months to complete, with 90% of the aircraft components being recycled into existing A380s (as spare parts) or for new aircraft construction.

A380 scrapping
A careful platform was needed to bring the A380 into the hanger. Photo: AltéAd via Twitter

What are the details?

According to Airways Mag, the first A380 has completed its retirement process in Tarbes Lourdes Airport. The airplane, which previously flew for Singapore Airlines, had successfully operated for over 10 years for the carrier.

Singapore Airlines already had another A380 due to replace the aircraft and, with no one else willing to take the aircraft (only one A380 has successfully transitioned to the second hand market with Hi Fly), it was sent to be scrapped.


But this scrapping process is far more than just attacking the airframe with a hacksaw and gusto, rather a complicated ballet of engineering and careful extracting. So careful that it actually took the team at Tarnac Aerosave 11 months to remove all the recyclable components from the shell of the aircraft.


Using a process described as an “eco-responsible process of cold cutting, watering, drainage, and selective sorting”, they were able to save up to 90% of all the recyclable components in the frame, from wiring, hydraulics, wingtips and more. These were then sent as spare parts for other A380s or to be sold to completely different projects looking for specific needs.

The remaining items of the aircraft, particularly the empty fuselage, will be stored elsewhere on site.

Preparing for the future

However, you might have noticed that it took the team 11 months to retire one A380. What happens when airlines start to retire the type en masse?

“Although TARMAC Aerosave already has the capacity to store nearly 300 aircraft simultaneously, at its sites in Tarbes, Teruel and Toulouse-Francazal, the company must adapt to growing market demand. Anticipating the need to accommodate the Airbus A380, the size and weight of which requires specific handling, TARMAC Aerosave started work extending the Tarbes storage areas at the beginning of 2017. The first of these areas was delivered on 9 November 2017”

TARMAC Aerosave
The future of the A380 might be here. Photo: TARMAC Aerosave

The firm has already started preparing the second site to be able to do two Airbus A380s at the same time. However, with over 200 aircraft in the world currently flying and expected to be totally retired in the next 20-30 years, it will take the company at least a decade to process them all.

But this may not be necessary, as Airbus believes there is still a second hand market for the A380 aircraft. Where that might be, we are still not sure although the rumor is they might be turned into flying private mansions.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.


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Should’ve put the first a380 in a museum instead of scraping it


It’s a large considerable expense, who’s is willing but Airbus to shell out that kind of money?

Mitul patel

I want to buy this retired aeroplane so plz tell me.
My cont nub 09879383508


Even just a little piece of this flying giant….


I know Emirates’ model focuses on leasing new aircraft and never keeping them long enough to need to perform expensive D-Checks, but I’m surprised they didn’t change their opinion here. The A380 has become very important to their business model, and since they can’t buy new ones, I would expect that they would try to buy every old model and setup a technical operation to maintain them.


MSN-003, the first A380 for Singapore Airlines — along with several of its immediate siblings — was basically assembled by hand in response to a design defect (wiring) and differs from the specifications for “standard” production A380s. It’s heavier and less efficient than later models, making early A380s less attractive on the secondary market. As from MSN-026, the first “standard production” A380, the aircraft had the improved wiring, vertical tail, composite-crossbeams and door structures.


it is not THE first A380 built, but the first A380 to be scrapped!

David Shotton

Can the 380 be reorganised inside. to make it viable for other flying uses.?
Will engine efficiency improve to the point, that 4 could be used.?
Can our military use them somehow, in their current engine configuration, either by this country, or allies.?
Have all possible scenarios been envisaged?
Its such a magnificent aircraft!!!
In my oppinion its a much better airplane than the 747.

Vernon St. Amour

Yes, it indeed is better than a 747 in that the derelict hulk of a 380 yields more beer cans. But in 25+ years hence, the747 will still be crossing the globe.


In the form of freighters, and a handful of failed 747-8 passenger models…is that what you mean?
Or are you referring to all the old 747-400s that are making their way to the scrapheap at present?


Airbus messed up and missed the freighter market for the A380.

And yeah, the A380 is a better passenger aircraft than the 747, but its 40 years newer, so….it should be. Somehow, the 50 year old airplane has out sold (orders) the A380 every year since 2014.


Six times more 747 than A380 . 747 has been flying since 1968. The A380 which first flew in 2005 will be gone within 15 years.

They had lounge options on the original 747, airlines preferred passenger seats. There were no airlines like Emirates with fat wallets in those days .

Daniel Berend

The 747 made it’s first flight Feb 9th 1969.


No the 747 will not be still flying in 25 years. $$$$, four engines cost a lot more $$$$ to run and to maintain and overhaul. The Queen of he sky is fast disappearing from airline operation. I loved flying in the 747.


A great plane no doubt, but much better than the 747 ?… That’s going too far. You just need to look at the track record of the 747, a game changer that ruled the sky for several decades ! These planes are different and just not comparable.


Nothing like 747 i feel very emotiona once i see it flying. I love 747. I think no other air plane. Will be having a beutiful view like 74!

Matt stollenwerk

When l was a kid growing up dad took me on business trips to Europe, that time it was the 707….then came the 747 it was a beautiful jet and still today!


Dont b crazy…. How and when does the A380 become better than a 747


Let’s see:
– Fuel economy;
– Passenger capacity;
– Range;
– Cabin noise, and external noise footprint;
– True widebody comfort on the upper deck;
– As a platform for innovation in extreme luxury, such as suites, showers, “The Residence”. etc.

Any other questions?


It may a great passenger airplane, but one of the reasons that it is being retired is because there are more fuel-efficient models now. Even if it was converted to Freight to duty, it would only be available for light packages because of the design.


Well it is 50 years newer, so I would hope it has better FE and cabin noise.


You are write


IMHO, this is the Real problem with the A380 & its impeding demise. Clearly Mr & Mrs Airbus didn’t give enough consideration to the 2nd life of the airframe.? I can see that CURRENTLY, it’s too big for high density short haul routes, I suspect that in another 10 years, there will be a substantial number of slot constrained Chinese & Asian routes which would utilise the 380’s phenomenal capacity….. all the more so because it won’t have lift half its own weight in fuel, because it won’t be travelling huge distances…. BUT primarily, the issue is that it won’t… Read more »


This kind of scrapping is more peaceful than tearing the beautiful plane apart with a massive hacksaw. I feel sad that A380 is gone ;(

Jiyu Shugi

News of the a380’s imminent demise may be greatly exaggerated.

Arshia Ostad

They should put the first A380 in museum! It could also be operated as Emirates or another airline! People should stop scrapping airplanes, especially A380s! My pilot dream started with an A380! If the A380 will die forever and never fly again, I will not become a pilot! Airbus should start building A380neo and stop scrapping their old A380s!!! 😢😠🤬👿😭

Adrian peters

What a sad sight, have just flown on a a380, and in economy, all I can say it is the best aircraft in all aspects to the customer I have ever flown on, whatever happened to the idea the customer gets what it desires. Etc.


Air freight is the most likely.


747 – X will be flying decades in the future. The A380 will be a distant memory fueled by a few dozen ancient aircraft. The problem with the A380 is it was designed as a single purpose aircraft, and cannot be easily repurposed.


I knew it wasn’t going to last
Not fan of A380 but for some people going to cry to see them go

cary beaman

It is the Wigner effect.


It must be annealed!

Julius Ceaser

I will need an A380 in the near future for my planned mansion..


The 747 in all its forms changed the way we fly, whilst the A380 perhaps offers a better passenger experience albeit a 40 yr newer design it will never be a “legend of aviation”. The sales figures speak for themselves Anyone who tells you any different either works for Airbus or flies the A380 lol


Peter when UK is looking at banning ALL private jet landings at UK airports due to their ridiculously high per capita emissions one must wonder at viability of A380 successfully transitioning to PERSONAL MANSIONS unless purely of static kind???

Graham J. CORRY

The UK ban refers to the aspect of per passenger rather than per aircraft.
Thus private jets fall foul drastically.
Yet it’s not all airports only major airports.


1 picture?


90% recycled? Is that 90% by weight, by volume or by parts count?