Breaking: Lufthansa To Ground Entire Airbus A380 Fleet

Amid plunging demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, Lufthansa is taking some major steps with its A380 fleet. After previously considering grounding its entire A380 fleet, Lufthansa is now preparing to ground the type through May.

Lufthansa A380
Lufthansa is grounding the Airbus A380 through May. Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa to ground the A380 through May

According to aero.de, Lufthansa is taking the A380 out of service through May per an internal circular. This comes as the airline has seen a slump in bookings. Shockingly, however, Lufthansa has only notched a 35% occupancy rate on the A380s recently.

Lufthansa, Coronavirus, Airbus A380
Lufthansa has reportedly only managed to notch a 35% load factor on the A380 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Getty Images

At this time, Lufthansa has denied the rumor to Simple Flying, but with plummeting demand, it is looking more likely by the day. In addition, Lufthansa is also working on a plan for its crew and parking the Airbus A380s on top of other aircraft across the Lufthansa Group that are effectively grounded. Thus, it would make sense for Lufthansa to not publicly announce the details until the entire plan for this grounding has been confirmed.

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Lufthansa A380
Grounding the A380s will require some time and planning on Lufthansa’s part. Photo: Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s Airbus A380s

Currently, Lufthansa has a total of 14 Airbus A380s. Each one seats a total of 509 passengers across four cabin classes. There are eight first class seats on the A380s. There are located in the forward portion of the upper deck.

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Lufthansa A380 First Class
First Class seats on Lufthansa’s Airbus A380s. Photo: Lufthansa

Behind first class are 78 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Lufthansa Business Class
Lufthansa has 78 business class seats on its A380s. Photo: Lufthansa

In the forward section of the lower deck, there are 52 premium economy seats. And then, the rest of the lower deck and very rear of the upper deck have a combined total of 371 economy class seats.

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Lufthansa A380 economy
Economy Class on the Airbus A380. Photo: Lufthansa

In terms of passenger capacity, the A380 is the largest aircraft in Lufthansa’s fleet. And, with four engines, the aircraft requires a fair bit of fuel to fly. With only 35% occupancy, Lufthansa would not be turning over amazing profits on this flight. However, for passengers, a 35% full A380 would feel incredibly spacious.

Cutting capacity

Around the world, airlines are cutting flights and capacity as global demand for travel plummets. It is unclear exactly how Lufthansa’s flight schedules will be impacted with the A380s out of service. However, Lufthansa will likely temporarily suspend some low-performing routes or else reduce capacity.

Lufthansa new livery
Lufthansa will likely make significant alterations to its flight schedule. Photo: Getty Images

Overall

Amid a slump in demand, it makes sense for Lufthansa to ground the A380s through May (or longer) in order to reduce losses. While Lufthansa has not yet confirmed this, it would make sense for the airline to wait to organize final details before definitively announcing plans to ground the A380s. And, if load factors are to be believed, then it is all the more reason for Lufthansa to ground this type.

Should Lufthansa institute an A380 grounding amid the coronavirus outbreak? Let us know in the comments!

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Norm

If this is the case with Lufthansa, should they not also ground the 19x B747/8 aircrafts, which are probably less in demand by the flying public than the A380. In terms of their respective operational cost, I leave that up to the Aviation experts to evaluate, but anticipate they must pretty similar.

Mark Lewis

Why do the a380 operators not get together and refit aircraft with their cabin brand and operate popular routes with combined branding? Each operator could fashion their own section with as little or as much luxury as they like and offer variable fares. In theory, an A380 could carry a Ryanair section with 100 seats from London to Florida for £200, the same plane could have a BA section with 200 seats with their branding, cabin crew and service, Lufthansa 200 seats in their branded cabin charging £350 and so on. 50 seats could be the first class cabin. This would fill planes, slash costs for airlines as only 1 plane is needed instead of 4 and the planes would be full.

Bill

Yes of course. Ground the A340 as well.

Nicholas Mitchell

Is “parking the Airbus A380s on top of other aircraft” really possible? How many high can one stack them?

massimo sblendorio

Depend about the cost and profit..

Richard Gomez

The aviation industry as a whole is taking a BIG hit. Cost per seat Km versus Revenue per seat Km. The curve of supply and demand. Airlines are cutting their losses. Qantas to accelerate retirement of their A340 fleet as an example. It makes sense to furlough the highest capacity, highest cost per flying hour assets or in Qantas’ case accelerate retirement thereof. It may be a difficult case to justify A380 flight resumption in the end.

Charbax

Nobody wants to fly to China, Frankfurt to Shanghai is such route where in last few weeks the A380 flies pretty much empty, not anyone’s fault. Booking cancellations due coronavirus are costing the airline industry $200 Billion or more.

Chris H

I have to admit that I have stopped flying Lufthansa from Johannesburg to Frankfurt since they replaced their A380 with a much inferior B747-8i. The Boeing is lipstick on a pig in my humble opinion. Whilst I am sure the B747 suits the airline, is noisy, cramped (what did you do with the configuration Lufthansa?) and just a step backwards for this flight. I now choose Air France A380 instead, even if less convenient. I suggest Lufthansa management get on the planes and seee for themselves, rather than just looking at the dwindling numbers. (And if you are getting 35% occupancy, pull out a few rows and maybe your loyal passengers will return?