The Airlines That Are Still Flying The Airbus A380

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The world’s fleet of Airbus A380s has mostly remained on the ground for almost two months. However, some operators have been flying the giant of the skies recently for varying reasons. Simple Flying thought we’d take a quick look at who was operating what.

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Most Airbus A380s have been grounded for the foreseeable future. However, a handful remains flying. Photo: Getty Images.

Commercial flights

As regular readers will now be aware, only one Airbus A380 airline remains operating scheduled commercial flights. This operator is China Southern, the only Chinese airline operating the type. The Chinese carrier has a fleet of five Airbus A380 aircraft.

All five of the airline’s aircraft have operated during May, with four of the five flying in the past few days. The fifth last flew on May 3rd from Sydney to Guangzhou. The airline has been operating the giant of the skies to the likes of Los Angeles, Sydney, London, Vancouver, and Amsterdam.

Getty China Southern Airplane takeoff
China Southern is the only airline still operating scheduled A380 flights. Photo: Getty Images

Pilot currency flights

Last month Simple Flying wrote that Asiana Airlines might have to operate ghost flights with its Airbus A380 aircraft. This was as the airline was unable to secure spots in simulators, and pilots are required to do so many landings every 90 days to remain current.

The airline did end up using its fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft for this purpose on three days from May 6th to May 8th. Asiana Airlines made good use of the plane, with HL7625 operating for just under 11 hours each day, according to FlightRadar24.com.

Asiana Airlines coronavirus getty images
Asiana Airlines has no Airbus A380 simulators of its own. Photo: Getty Images
  • On May 6th, the aircraft operated nine flights with the first taking off at 06:14 and the last landing at 19:13. Most trips were 20-minutes long, with some stretching to 50 minutes in length.
  • On May 7th, the aircraft operated eight flights. Again, the first departed at 06:14. However, the day ended slightly earlier at 17:52. Most of the trips were also around 20 minutes.
  • Finally, on May 8th, the airline once again operated nine flights. The first flight took off slightly earlier at 06:08, with the day ending at 17:28.

It is possible that Malaysia Airlines also operated a training flight. On Friday (May 15th), one of the airline’s A380s, 9M-MNB, operated a one hour flight towards the Malaysian border, and then back to Kuala Lumpur.

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Cargo flights

Two airlines have been using their A380s to carry cargo. While the freight version of the A380 was never built, and the passenger version wouldn’t work as a properly converted cargo aircraft, it is perfect for carrying light freight such as masks and clinical gowns.

Airbus A380, Airlines, Still Flying
Malaysia Airlines has transported cargo using an A380. Photo: Getty Images

Malaysia Airlines operated the first such freight flight with an Airbus A380 on April 28th. The airline flew an A380 to London and back carrying 26 tons of cargo that had mostly originated in Guangzhou.

Additionally, just yesterday, the only company to wet-lease an A380, Hi Fly, operated its aircraft for a cargo flight. Having flown from its Beja base to Tianjin, the plane then flew to the Dominican Republic, taking 16 hours and 20 minutes. It was carrying 45,000 kg of personal protective equipment.

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A380 Hi Fly
Hi Fly’s A380 flew to the Dominican Republic yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Storage flights

Now we’ve come to the more unfortunate part of the article. Several airlines have been ferrying A380s for storage and possible retirement.

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Air France is considering early retirement of its Airbus A380 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Air France has so far ferried four Airbus A380s to aircraft graveyards ahead of a potential early retirement. Two to Tarbes, where the first two Airbus A380s were scrapped, and another two to Teruel in Spain:

  • F-HPJC was ferried from Abu Dhabi to Tarbes on April 22nd;
  • F-HPJE was ferried from Paris to Tarbes on April 28th;
  • F-HPJF was ferried from Paris to Teruel on April 25th;
  • F-HPJG was ferried from Paris to Teruel on April 25th.
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Lufthansa decommissioned six Airbus A380s last month. Photo: Getty Images

Air France’s Airbus A380s aren’t alone in Teruel, though. Indeed, Lufthansa has ferried seven A380s to the Spanish aircraft graveyard representing half of its fleet of the aircraft. Six of these aircraft will likely not fly for Lufthansa again as it had previously immediately decommissioned several aircraft, including A340-600s, that were also sent to the site. The fate of the remaining aircraft is unclear.

Singapore A380
Singapore Airlines was the launch customer for the giant of the skies. Photo: Getty Images

Last but by no means least, Singapore Airlines flew four of its 19 aircraft to Alice Springs in the Australian desert for storage. These aircraft all flew down on April 26th. Their registrations are 9V-SKT, 9V-SKW, 9V-SKY, and 9V-SKZ.

When was the last time you saw an Airbus A380 flying? Let us know your experience in the comments.

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