Heavy British Airways A380 Crushes French Airport Taxiway

Yesterday, a British Airways Airbus A380 damaged the taxiway in Chateauroux, France. Three-quarters of the British flag carrier’s A380 fleet is now in long term storage at the French airport amid a global decline in the aviation industry.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Taxiway Damage
A British Airways Airbus A380 damaged the taxiway on arrival in Chateauroux yesterday. Photo: Simple Flying | various sources forwarded to @airline_kitty

It’s been an unlucky week for British Airways. On Tuesday, one of the airline’s shiny new Airbus A350s collided with an Emirates 777 while being pushed back in Dubai. Now one of its Airbus A380s has damaged a taxiway in Chateauroux.

What happened?

British Airways’ Airbus A380 G-XLED has torn up the edge of a taxiway at France’s Chateauroux Airport. British Airways uses the airport for training. However, it has also now become a spot to store the Giant of the skies.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Taxiway Damage
The aircraft flew down to Chateauroux yesterday. Photo: Flight Radar24.com

G-XLED departed from London Heathrow at 08:32 BST yesterday morning. Following a short hop south, it arrived in Chateauroux at 10:30 CEST, according to FlightRadar24.com.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Taxiway Damage
While being marshaled into its parking spot, the aircraft’s wheel dug into the ground. Photo: Various sources forwarded to @airline_kitty

Upon arrival in Chateauroux, the aircraft was marshaled into position along with the other Airbus A380s at the airport. However, while the plane was moved into place, it rolled onto an area outside of the taxiway that was not strong enough to support the heavy Giant.

Simple Flying believes that the nose gear caused the damage as the aircraft was turning to park at an angle on the taxiway. We’ve included a rough diagram to illustrate this below.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Taxiway Damage
How the taxiway may have come to be damaged. Photo: Simple Flying

However, at this time, it remains unconfirmed which wheels dug into the surface. Thankfully, the aircraft didn’t get stuck and was able to taxi out of the hole it had created.

In a statement to Simple Flying, the airport’s General Manager said:

The problem comes from a misunderstanding of the area to taxi on. The marshaler thought that this area was suitable, but as it’s outside of the taxiway, it’s not strong enough. The damage will be repaired next week.

Entire fleet grounded

Airlines currently have a complicated relationship with the Airbus A380. While it can be perfect for high demand routes, outside of repatriation efforts, its capacity isn’t needed right now. As a result, we have already seen Lufthansa announce it will immediately retire some Airbus A380s. Meanwhile, the airline is keeping some active for repatriation flights.


British Airways has taken a slightly different strategy. It hasn’t said that it would get rid of the aircraft. However, it also hasn’t said that it would keep the A380 around. For the time being, the British Flag carrier has decided to park its entire Airbus A380 fleet in Chateauroux until further notice.

This is except for one A380 undergoing maintenance in Manila. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see the Giant of the Skies return to the skies in the British Airways livery sooner rather than later.

What do you make of the taxiway damage? Understandable mistake or shouldn’t have happened? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Incident images used with permission from various sources via @Airline_Kitty on Twitter.