The Airbus A380 fleet at Teruel Airport in Spain became more diverse yesterday. Following a seven-and-a-half-hour flight from Abu Dhabi, an Etihad A380 touched down at the Spanish storage facility. Given recent developments, it seems increasingly likely that this could be the last flight of the giant.
Europe’s aircraft storage facilities have become more well known as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aircraft from around the world have come to be stored at these locations, given a general lack of travel demand, tied with the high fees of parking jets at major international airports. Teruel, in Spain, has become especially well known due to its collection of Airbus A380s.
A new arrival at Teruel
Yesterday, an Airbus A380 from Etihad Airways became the latest resident at Teruel Airport (TEV) in Spain. The aircraft, A6-APG, departed from Abu Dhabi at 08:54, according to data from RadarBox.com. Following a flight time of around seven and a half hours, the plane touched down at its new home around 14:30 local time. The jet flew at 40,000 feet for most of the journey, including an extended leg over the Mediterranean Sea.
The aircraft in question was A6-AGP. According to data from Planespotters.net, it was delivered to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier in April 2016 from Hamburg. Having taken its first flight in November 2015, the aircraft is just five years old.
A final flight?
Since December 2019, the aircraft has worn the airline’s special ‘Choose South Korea’ livery. However, it was short-lived. The jet has been in storage in Abu Dhabi since March 19th, 2020. 13 months later, it has potentially taken its final flight. Etihad is yet to close the door on the Airbus A380 program officially. However, it has removed all references to the A380 from its website.
All the suggestions are that a permanent retirement will be the case. In mid-March, Etihad’s CEO, Tony Douglas, revealed that the airline had made the strategic decision to park its entire fleet of Airbus A380s. He added that he doesn’t see them operating in the Etihad fleet anymore. As such, the suggestion is that this giant of the sky may have just completed its final flight. Four more Etihad A380s have flown to Tarbes, a sister site of Teruel.
The expected retirement of the aircraft will see the loss of one of the most exclusive commercial aircraft cabins in the skies. The Etihad A380 was known for its suite called ‘The Residence’. This saw up to two people occupying ‘a luxury three-room apartment in the sky’. You can read more about it here.
Not alone in Teruel
While this is the only Etihad Airbus A380 that has made the journey to Teruel so far, it won’t be alone at the ‘aircraft nursery’, as its owners Tarmac Aerosave affectionately call it. Etihad becomes the fourth airline to send A380s to the facility.
Air France was the first to send the Airbus A380 to the site, with two aircraft arriving on April 25th, 2020. The first Lufthansa Airbus A380 arrived on the site on April 28th, 2020, almost a year ago. The airline has now sent nine A380s to the site, with the most recent arriving on Friday. Late last year, British Airways also joined the party, sending its three oldest A380s to the storage site. As a result, Teruel is now caring for 15 A380 aircraft from four operators.
Do you think the Etihad Airbus A380 will ever leave Teruel? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!