In its third-quarter results today, Lufthansa reaffirmed that the Airbus A380 is unlikely to return to service. The German flag carrier has already retired six of the superjumbos as the airline rightsizes for the future.
While the Airbus A380 was already losing popularity with airlines before the pandemic, COVID-19 has done the type no favors. Aside from orders from UAE giant Emirates, the aircraft’s order book never lived up to its full potential. Now, the pandemic has caused the expedited retirement of some four-engined aircraft models, including the Airbus A380.
Lufthansa’s A380s likely won’t return
The idea that Lufthansa’s Airbus A380 fleet will be retired in its entirety is, by no means, new. After all, in late September, Simple Flying reported that the aircraft type was unlikely to return to service following the crisis. Sadly, this is a view that was repeated in today’s third-quarter results.
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The airline said,
“Based on current fleet planning and the resolutions taken by the management boards, the assumption is that five Boeing B747s, eight Airbus A380s, 17 Airbus A340s and eleven Airbus A320s, five owned Airbus A319s and another ten leased Airbus A319s at Lufthansa German Airlines… will be retired permanently.”
What will happen to the Airbus A380s?
For the time being, Lufthansa’s Airbus A380s are spread across two sites. Half of the fleet is at Teruel, a Spanish Aircraft Graveyard. Meanwhile, the remainder of the fleet is at the airline’s Frankfurt hub.
Six of the seven aircraft in Teruel have already had their fate sealed as retirement. The remaining aircraft belongs to the eight that are assumed to be retiring. However, while the remaining aircraft are currently in Frankfurt, we may not see them in the skies moving soon.
The airline has said that the aircraft will be transferred to a “long-term parking mode.” This means that they could be moved to a long-term storage facility such as Teruel. However, they could also remain parked up at the corner of Frankfurt Airport.
Four engined aircraft fall out of favor
If Lufthansa were to retire all of the aircraft outlined above, it would leave it with very few four-engined aircraft. This could be what the airline desires. After all, Simple Flying recently reported that the German flag carrier was bringing twin-engine reinforcements to Frankfurt, as they are more efficient than the Airbus A340 and Boeing 747-8. Yesterday, it began sending Boeing 747s on a one-way trip to Mojave.
However, the airline did previously state that its remaining Boeing 747s wouldn’t be retired ahead of schedule. This is likely especially true of the 747-8s given their young age. By operating the 747-8, Lufthansa is currently one of the leading passenger carriers using the type. Earlier this year, many airlines retired their entire Boeing 747 fleets.
Do you think Lufthansa should pull the plug on the Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!