Late last year, Lufthansa’s CEO Carsten Spohr revealed that the airline didn’t expect to resume flights with the Airbus A380. This followed on from the immediate retirement of six of its giant aircraft in spring 2020.
The current pandemic has profoundly impacted the Airbus A380 program. Most airlines have grounded their entire fleets, while just three remain actively operating the giant of the skies. These are China Southern, Emirates, and Korean Air. Sadly, many airlines have retired parts of their giant of the skies fleets since this time last year, including Lufthansa.
D-AIMC on the move
D-AIMC was the third Airbus A380 to have been delivered to Lufthansa. It was the oldest A380 at the airline that had not been sent to Teruel, an aircraft graveyard in Spain. This morning, the aircraft took its first flight in over nine months. It last flew from Frankfurt to Bangkok as part of Lufthansa’s mammoth repatriation effort on April 11th.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Today the aircraft took to the skies for what could be the final time at 07:45, although this was an hour after its planned departure time. Departing from Frankfurt’s runway 18, the aircraft flew to Tarbes in France as LH 9880, where it landed at 09:11. Tarbes is one of two sites where A380s have so far known to be scrapped, along with Knock in Ireland that has scrapped an Air France A380.
At this point, Lufthansa has only said that the aircraft will be sent to long-term storage, not retirement. Simple Flying has reached out to the airline to confirm the latest situation. The airline outlined its storage plan to Simple Flying, summarised here.
In September, Lufthansa revealed its third round of restructuring measures. At this point, it said that,
“The remaining eight A380s… will be transferred to long term storage and removed from planning. These aircraft will only be reactivated in the event of an unexpectedly rapid market recovery.”
Six Airbus A380s left at Frankfurt
With the departure of D-AIMC from Frankfurt, there are only six A380s remaining at Lufthansa’s main hub. The remaining seven aircraft were sent to Teruel in Spain many months ago. Given Lufthansa’s comment from September, we should expect that these will also follow soon. Lufthansa’s CEO recently revealed that its A340-600 fleet is also unlikely to return.
D-AIMC won’t be alone in Tarbes. According to data previously analyzed by Simple Flying, 14 A380s are already at the French site, including two Singapore Airlines aircraft known to have been scrapped. Among them are six aircraft from Air France, one from Emirates, three from Etihad, and four from Singapore Airlines.
What do you make of Lufthansa’s first A380 flight in months? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!