Lufthansa CEO: The A380 Obviously Will Not Come Back

Lufthansa has thrown further doubt on the Airbus A380s return, with CEO Carsten Spohr saying it is evident that the aircraft won’t return to service. The airline has already sent the majority of its A380 fleet to long-term storage, with a single example remaining in Frankfurt, just in case.

Lufthansa, Airbus A380, Carsten Spohr
Lufthansa’s CEO has made some damning comments about the future of the Airbus A380. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

This week was one of the best for positive Airbus A380 news in a long time. Two days ago, Lufthansa Technik revealed that it had signed a five-year maintenance deal for British Airways’ fleet of 12 jets, signaling that these will likely remain in the skies. Now Lufthansa Technik’s owner is giving bad news about its own A380 fleet.

‘Obviously’ not coming back

Pouring further water on the flame that is the Lufthansa Airbus A380, the airline’s CEO Carsten Spohr yesterday made it clear that the aircraft type is dead as far as he is concerned. Speaking during a Q&A after the airline’s Q2 results call, Spohr remarked,

“On the fleet, we’ll be taking away nine sub fleets over the next years. If you would rather confine that to long-range only, the [A]380 will obviously not come back. The [A340-600] will only be brought back for two years to make sure we have enough capacity in Munich including the premium cabins until that is replaced by [A]350s.”

Lufthansa, Airbus A380, Carsten Spohr
Lufthansa has already sent 13 of its 14 A380s to paced capable of scrapping the giant. Photo: Getty Images

Not much effort to retire the Airbus A380s

Lufthansa has positioned itself so that retiring the Airbus A380s wouldn’t take much effort on its part. 13 of its 14 aircraft are spread across two ‘aircraft nurserys’ operated by Tarmac Aerosave. These are Tarbes in France and Teruel in Spain. At least three Airbus A380s from other operators have already been scrapped in Tarbes, while Teruel can also scrap aircraft. This means that Lufthansa would only have to deal with its single A380 still at Frankfurt, D-AIMH.

AircraftLocationStorage Flight (DD/MM/YYYY)
D-AIMATeruel (TEV)07/05/2020
D-AIMBTeruel (TEV)13/05/2020
D-AIMCTarbes (LDE)26/01/2021
D-AIMDTeruel (TEV)22/03/2021
D-AIMETeruel (TEV)16/04/2021
D-AIMFTeruel (TEV)29/04/2020
D-AIMGTeruel (TEV)28/04/2020
D-AIMHFrankfurt (FRA)N/A
D-AIMITarbes (LDE)22/02/2021
D-AIMJTeruel (TEV)30/04/2020
D-AIMKTeruel (TEV)05/05/2020
D-AIMLTeruel (TEV)05/05/2021
D-AIMMTeruel (TEV)01/06/2021
D-AIMNTeruel (TEV)06/05/2020

Double deckers remain in the fleet

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Airways opted to retire its remaining fleet of 31 Boeing 747-400 aircraft. However, the British flag carrier has made it reasonably clear that in its eyes, the Airbus A380 is not dead yet.

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It seems as though the opposite is true at Lufthansa. While the A380 is on death’s door, the German flag carrier remains committed to its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, and not just newer examples.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747, Return
While the A380 is on the way out, Lufthansa remains committed to the Queen of the Skies. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

With an average age of 7.8 years, 14 of the airline’s 19 Boeing 747-8s are currently active. While over half of the Boeing 747-400 fleet has been retired, Lufthansa retains eight, with an average age of 21.3. These aircraft are set to return to service to provide additional capacity until the airline takes delivery of its first Boeing 777X aircraft in 2023. They will then be phased out in line with new aircraft deliveries. Earlier this week, Lufthansa took a Boeing 747-400 out of storage in the Netherlands in preparation for the type’s return.

Are you sad to see Carsten Spohr drop the hammer on the Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!