While Lufthansa had been expected to retain two Airbus A380 aircraft at Frankfurt, it today bid farewell to its penultimate jet, possibly for the last time. Six-year-old D-AIMM departed Frankfurt this morning, bound for long-term storage at Tarmac Aerosave’s Teruel facility.
The past year hasn’t been kind to the Airbus A380. While new aircraft are still valued at over $100 million, hardly anybody wants them, including many of the airlines that already own them. Just last week, Qatar Airways’ CEO told Simple Flying that ordering the giant had been the airline’s biggest mistake. Lufthansa also looks to be bidding the giant farewell.
Over the past months, we’ve seen many Airbus A380s departing from Frankfurt. While most were from Emirates returning to Dubai with passengers, a handful were Lufthansa A380s taking what could be their final flight. Last month we bid farewell to D-AIML. At the time, this was expected to be the final departure according to Lufthansa’s January plan for the jets.
A Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying that the reopening of Frankfurt Airport’s northwest runway, previously used to park 747-8s, meant that more parking space was needed elsewhere. As such, the plan was altered to see D-AIMM depart today. D-AIMH is expected to remain in Frankfurt until September.
This morning D-AIMM departed from Frankfurt International at 09:18 as LH9921. Like most of the other A380 departures to Teruel, it took off from the airport’s south-facing Runway 18.
Having departed Frankfurt, D-AIMM flew south through Germany, climbing to a height of 41,000 feet. After passing above Switzerland and France, the aircraft began descending through Spanish airspace. According to data from RadarBox.com, the flight touched down shortly after 11:00.
ch-aviation.com data shows that the aircraft took its first flight on October 22nd, 2014. Lufthansa then took delivery of the jet on March 14th, 2015. This makes it the airline’s second-youngest giant. The plane never received the airline’s new paint scheme and has spent the last 6.6 years in the old Lufthansa colors. It would seat 509 passengers across four classes. Economy held 371, premium 52, business 78, while the first class cabin held just eight lucky travelers.
— Aeropuerto de Teruel, vuela la innovación (@aeropuerteruel) June 1, 2021
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What’s next for the jet?
Having arrived in Teruel, the A380 will join 19 other A380s from four carriers. This includes 10 of its 13 sister A380s at Lufthansa. Two are in Tarbes, France, while D-AIMH remains in Frankfurt for the time being. Four more A380s at Teruel are from Etihad, three are from British Airways, with two more coming from Air France.
While it seems as though the three belonging to British Airways may have a shot at leaving, things are looking grim for the other aircraft. Air France and Etihad have confirmed that they have no plans to fly the giant of the skies again.
So far, Lufthansa has stopped short of officially retiring its entire fleet. However, the airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t see any future for the jet in Lufthansa’s fleet, given his current recovery predictions. The airline expects to operate around 40% of its 2019 capacity in 2021, doubling to approximately 80% next year.
Lufthansa’s current capacity amounts to 57,287 seats, according to data from ch-aviation.com. This excludes the A380s, and other jets presumed retired due to the current situation. With 7,126 seats across the A380 fleet, the A380s would make up around 11% of today’s capacity.
When do you think Lufthansa’s last Airbus A380 will leave Frankfurt? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!