Lufthansa today bid farewell to the giant Airbus A380, possibly for the final time. The last of 14 jets departed Frankfurt this morning. The aircraft left Lufthansa’s stronghold on what is likely its last ever flight at around half-past nine. Lufthansa isn’t expected to return the A380 to service.
The pandemic has been no friend to the Airbus A380. At its height only five of the jets were active, with even major carrier Emirates grounded. While some airlines are starting to show interest in the giant once more, it seems that the superjumbo dream is over for many.
Final Lufthansa A380 flight?
While we’ve seen plenty of Lufthansa A380s leaving Frankfurt for long-term storage, today’s stands out as something special. With Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr saying that the aircraft won’t come back, it seems that this could well be the last flight of a Lufthansa Airbus A380.
The entire fleet is now in storage with Tarmac Aerosave. Two are in Tarbes, France, with the remaining 12 in Teruel, Spain, where D-AIMH flew today. Both sites are capable of scrapping aircraft, with several ex-Singapore Airlines A380s already getting scrapped at Tarbes.
The hope that a second-hand operator could be found for even one of the jets seems like an impossible dream. The second-hand A380 market was already non-existent even before the onset of the pandemic.
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As mentioned, D-AIMH departed from Frankfurt Airport at 09:30. The aircraft climbed into the sky from Frankfurt’s Runway 18, continuing south through Germany and Switzerland before passing overhead France and finally arriving in Spanish airspace. Having cruised at 39,000 feet, the aircraft began its descent down into Teruel, where it landed around two hours after departure, according to data from RadarBox.com.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, D-AIMH has the serial number 70. It first flew on December 9th, 2010, and arrived with the German flag carrier on July 5th, 2011. With the airline, the jet has racked up 38,587 flight hours across 3,930 flight cycles. With a current market value of $42.49 million, the plane last flew one and a half years ago.
The aircraft’s last passenger flight saw the jet, named New York, departing from San Francisco as LH 459 on March 6th. It arrived in Munich on March 7th, where it stayed until it repositioned to Frankfurt at the end of May 2020. It has been kept here since while other aircraft left, on the off chance its enormous capacity would be needed at short notice.
The end of the A380?
If this is indeed the end for the fleet, it will indeed be a sad one. The airline’s youngest A380, D-AIMM, is just 6.9 years, while the oldest, D-AIMA, is 11.39 years. On average, the fleet is aged 9.95 years and has flown 36,065 hours across 3,709 flight cycles.
Will you miss the Lufthansa Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!