Lufthansa To Remove 6 A380’s From Fleet By 2023

German national airline Lufthansa plans to remove six Airbus A380s from their fleet by 2023.

Lufthansa A380
Lufthansa to retire six A380s by 2023. Photo: Lufthansa

Currently, Lufthansa operates 14 Airbus A380s and is, like other airlines, gradually replacing them with more fuel-efficient twinjet planes.

On March 13th, 2019 the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG approved the purchase of 20 Boeing 787-9s and 20 Airbus A350-900s.

Lufthansa to retire all four-engine jets

These new deliveries will replace all the four-engine aircraft that Lufthansa operates on their long-haul routes.

Lufthansa A380
Lufthansa Group to retire all 747s and A380s. Photo: Lufthansa

By introducing these fuel-efficient twin-engine planes, Lufthansa is expecting to see a significant reduction in operating costs. The new aircraft are due for delivery between late 2022 and 2027.

In its recently issued second-quarter earnings report Lufthansa said that six of its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s would be sold back to the European planemaker between 2022 and 2023.

Air France is also getting rid of its A380s

Previously, Air France had planned to go the Lufthansa route and gradually replace the A380s in its fleet.

Air France A380
All Air France A380s will be retired by 2022 Photo: Air France

Now, under the banner of fleet simplification, Air France plans to retire all 10 of its A380s by 2022. Air France said the decision to retire the planes sooner was that it is difficult to find profitable routes to put them on according to website One Mile at a Time.

Along with the high operational costs and increasing maintenance expenses, it didn’t make sense to keep flying them when compared to the savings a new twin-engine widebody would bring.

Another point of contention against Air Frances A380s is that they do not have lie-flat business class seats. This lets down the product in comparison to competitors offerings. Add to this a cabin desperately in need of a makeover and all of a sudden you have a huge expense on your hands for a plane you were already intending to phase out.

While Air France-KLM is deciding on what plane will replace the A380, I would hazard a guess that they will go the same route as Lufthansa. Lufthansa already has its replacements on order, that include both the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and the A350-900.

When did it start to go wrong for the Airbus A380?

Hailed as being the future of travel when it debuted in 2007, the Airbus A380 will now go down in aviation history as one of the shortest-lived models ever built.

Lufthansa A380 cabin
The A380 was just too big and not fuel-efficient. Photo: Lufthansa

The problem with the A380 lies squarely with Airbus who, in their desire to be different to Boeing, came up with the idea of building a double-decker giant. The way Airbus saw the future of air transportation was based on something that had not yet happened.

The assumption they had was if that air travel would continue to grow at its current doubling every 15 years, airports around the world would not be able to cope with the passenger numbers. By airlines having large aircraft like the A380, they would be able to ease the bottlenecks at airports while also maximizing expensive landing slots.

This prediction, as we know now, never came to fruition leaving airlines like Emirates, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways with flying hotels that are difficult to sell all the seats on.