Airlines have been grounding aircraft left, right, and center as a result of the current aviation crisis. This means that most of the world’s Airbus A380s have been grounded until further notice. Consequentially, there are currently no Airbus A380s flying according to data from FlightRadar24.com.
Capacity not needed
Unfortunately, in some ways, the Airbus A380 is a victim of its design. The vast capacity of the aircraft has led to the type mostly being grounded. Initially, some airlines utilized the aircraft for repatriations. Given its size, the plane was perfect for moving large numbers of stranded passengers at once. We even saw five Lufthansa Airbus A380 flights to New Zealand.
However, repatriation efforts have mostly come to a close now. With demand as low as it currently is, it is neither economical nor environmentally friendly to operate the giant of the skies right now. Smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft are mainly being used in their place.
Emirates is the primary operator
Except for Emirates, if any single airline were to ground its Airbus A380 fleet during regular times, the effect on the number of giants flying would be negligible. However, Emirates is by far the largest A380 operator with 116 aircraft according to data from FlightRadar24.com.
As the airline only has the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 in its fleet, there are typically multiple Emirates A380s in the sky at any one time. Now, add in all of the other carriers, and at any one time, quite a few of the aircraft are flying.
Then versus now
When we compare our situation with last year’s data, FlightRadar24 shows that at 00:01 on the 24th of April 2019, there were 55 Emirates A380s transmitting flight data. In total, 116 A380s from a range of different airlines were transmitting data. According to Airbus’ order book, as of the end of March, 242 A380s had been delivered. Seven of the aircraft have been produced in the past year to date, according to Planespotters.
As such, a year ago, just under 50% of the world’s A380s were flying at any one time. Emirates’ aircraft made up around half of these aircraft.
What is the future?
Fortunately for the majority of aviation enthusiasts, it looks as though the A380 won’t be permanently disappearing from the skies for the time being. There is the possibility that some airlines won’t fly the type again. However, as the model is so crucial to Emirates’ fleet, the UAE flag carrier is unlikely to stop flying with the plane any time soon. Scrapping over 100 aircraft at once would genuinely be an unprecedented move.
When was the last time you saw an Airbus A380 flying? What is your favorite memory of the aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!