The German Giant: What Were Lufthansa’s Top Airbus A380 Routes?

The A380 has flown nearly 400 million seats across all users since 2011. Lufthansa was its third-largest operator, with its A380 route map seeing 21 routes, 16 airports, and nine countries. The type played a key role in its widebody fleet, but it is unlikely to return to service.

Lufthansa A380
Lufthansa has used its A380s on 21 scheduled routes since 2011. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

If all A380 operators in the past decade are combined, over 396 million seats have been flown by the type. As you’d expect, it was all about Emirates, with almost half of all capacity (49%), equivalent to 193 million, data from OAG shows. This summer, Emirates has scheduled its A380s to operate 18 routes.

Singapore Airlines was the second-largest operator of A380s in the past 10 years, with Lufthansa the world’s third-largest by this measure. Qantas, Air France, and British Airways round-out the top-six, with this group having more than eight in ten A380 seats.

Lufthansa A380
Lufthansa was the world’s third-largest A380 user in the past decade. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Lufthansa’s A380s

Lufthansa’s peak year for A380 use was 2016, when it had 3.5 million seats by the aircraft. This isn’t a particularly large amount, and it was equivalent to a 7% share of all A380 seats that year.

In fact, Lufthansa’s share of the type has declined almost yearly – it had 13% in 2011, reduced to just 5% in 2019. This was from the European carrier using the A380 less as the global total of the type still grew. Lufthansa is very unlikely to operate the A380 on commercial services again, although it hasn’t yet officially cut the type. Another aircraft, D-AIMD, left for storage on March 22nd.

The world's A380 development
The slowdown in total A380 seats globally pre-coronavirus was, of course, mainly because of Emirates’ slowdown. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer

Lufthansa’s widebodies

The A380 has played an important role in Lufthansa’s widebody fleet, with nearly a one-fifth share of all its widebody capacity (18%) in the last few years. Yet, since 2011, the A380 has been only Lufthansa’s fifth-most-used widebody, after the A330-300, B747-400, A340-600, and A340-300. That’s no surprise given its niche focus, but it still had over 26 million A380 seats in all.

Lufthansa's widebodies
The A330-300 has Lufthansa’s most-used aircraft this decade. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer

Hugely about Frankfurt, but Munich too

Lufthansa used its A380s on 15 scheduled routes in 2018, its most ever, up from eight in 2011 to 2013. Frankfurt was, of course, crucial for the aircraft, although it did shift some to Munich in 2018 over a spat with Fraport about airport charges.

Lufthansa had over one million A380 seats at the Bavarian airport in 2019, helped by more aircraft moving over. Hong Kong was top from Munich, followed by Los Angeles, Beijing, Miami, and San Francisco.

Lufthansa A380 routes
Lufthansa has used the A380 on 21 scheduled routes in the past decade. Image: OAG

21 A380 routes in all

Since 2011, 16 airports and nine countries have seen Lufthansa’s A380s on a scheduled basis. While Asia was key, with seven countries, the USA had nearly 2.5 times more seats than China, the second-largest country. This is reflected in its top-10 A380 routes this decade, which are shown below.

Lufthansa's top-10 A380 routes (2011-2020 combined)Lufthansa's seats (two ways)
Frankfurt-Singapore3,076,667
Frankfurt-San Francisco2,560,566
Frankfurt-Houston2,549,716
Frankfurt-Miami2,547,788
Frankfurt-Shanghai Pudong1,996,806
Frankfurt-Beijing1,933,114
Frankfurt-Delhi1,932,539
Frankfurt-Johannesburg1,776,188
Frankfurt-New York JFK1,707,084
Frankfurt-Los Angeles1,390,826

It’s not much of a surprise that Lufthansa’s top-three routes – Singapore, San Francisco, and Houston – all involved Star Alliance hubs.

Did you fly aboard Lufthansa’s A380s? Comment below!

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