Airbus A380 lovers shouldn’t expect to see the German flag carrier’s giant of the sky flying any time soon. The airline’s Airbus A380s won’t operate for at least two years. When the fleet does return, it will be significantly smaller than it was before the current crisis.
While the A380 has been known as the giant of the skies for the past decade, the giant of the ground would be a more accurate description right now. Except for China Southern, passenger services using the type have largely been off the cards since the effects of the pandemic took hold in late March.
Two years grounded
While not going as far as neighboring flag carrier Air France, Lufthansa has already slashed its Airbus A380 fleet in half since the pandemic began. Seven of its A380s have flown to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard. These A380s won’t fly for the German flag carrier again.
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However, there is hope that the airline will resume services with its remaining seven A380 aircraft. The airline last month told us that going forward, it would only fly the Airbus A380 from Munich. However, we shouldn’t expect to see them soon.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Klaus Froese, in charge of Lufthansa’s Frankfurt base, said that Lufthansa wouldn’t fly the Airbus A380 for at least two years. He said that the aircraft wouldn’t return to Frankfurt, reconfirming the previous reporting on the matter. However, he also said:
“In Munich, we will have to see. Planning is very difficult in these times.”
Will Lufthansa’s A380s return?
It’s impossible to say whether Lufthansa’s Airbus A380 aircraft will or won’t return to regular passenger service. The A380 has proved to be a boon to some airlines, such as British Airways, at heavily slot constrained airports.
Lufthansa has already shown that it doesn’t need to rely on the Airbus A380 in the future, by ditching half of its existing fleet. Frankfurt, Lufthansa’s main base, is slot controlled. However, with the airline expecting demand recovery to take three years, there is no great need to free up additional slots.
This is further shown by the airline completely withdrawing the super-jumbo from the airport, and looking to agree to a €9 billion bailout in exchange for sacrificing Frankfurt slots.
For the time being, the aircraft will remain grounded. However, Lufthansa has access to the type if it needs the aircraft’s enormous capacity. Yet, it shouldn’t be seen as a surprise if the airline didn’t bring the plane back.
On the matter, a Lufthansa spokesperson said,
“A total of 14 A380s have been withdrawn from operations. Seven A380s have been transferred to Teruel, Spain, where the long-haul aircraft have been transferred to deep storage. The remaining seven A380s are in Frankfurt, where they are also being prepared for storage. A concrete date for reuse is still open.”
While Lufthansa may end up keeping its remaining seven Airbus A380s, it wouldn’t be surprising if more of the global fleet was permanently grounded as a result of the worst crisis ever to hit the aviation industry.
Do you think Lufthansa should keep its Airbus A380s? Or should they say goodbye and get it over with? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!