Right now, one airline continues to operate its entire Airbus A380 fleet and two are operating partial fleets. However, the remainder aren’t using any of their giants. With 254 A380s having been built to date, but just 24 operational, where are the other 230 resting their wings?
The Airbus A380 is a marvel of engineering. However, it is not working out for many airlines in practical terms, given that passenger numbers continue to sit at record lows. Currently, China Southern is the only airline operating its full fleet of aircraft, while others such as Air France, have even gone as far as retiring all their A380s.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
How many Airbus A380s are currently flying?
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, 24 out of 254 A380s built are currently operational. This comprises five aircraft from China Southern, one from Korean Air, and 18 from Emirates. However, that doesn’t mean that 230 aircraft are currently grounded. Of the 254 built, three have been scrapped, two have gone to a museum, and Airbus maintains one as a test aircraft.
A further five remain undelivered, and 19 have been retired and placed into storage. That leaves 200 aircraft that are currently grounded but not retired. Of these, around 100 belong to the A380’s biggest carrier, Emirates.
Where are the aircraft current stored?
From Abu Dhabi to Victorville, aircraft are currently being stored all around the world. Dubai World Central Airport is now home to the most A380s, with 83 aircraft. Dubai International Airport, with 34 aircraft, follows.
If you remove Emirates from the equation, then Dubai doesn’t feature in the airport listing. Seoul would come top, housing 16 A380s from both Asiana Airlines and Korean Air. Tarbes has ten aircraft from airlines such as Air France, Emirates, and Etihad. However, two of these aircraft have been scrapped. Moving back to the Middle East, Doha airport has 13 A380s. It is currently housing Qatar’s ten aircraft and a further three from British Airways.
When will these aircraft fly again?
It’s unclear when many of these grounded Airbus A380s will return to the skies, if at all. Lufthansa has previously said that it is unlikely that its remaining A380 fleet will return to passenger service. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines recently announced it would retire seven more aircraft, while Qatar Airways indicated that it would retire half of its fleet.
It’s not all bad news, though. For the time being, Emirates remains committed to the Airbus A380 program. The UAE carrier has five new A380s still to be delivered. Additionally, last week Simple Flying reported that the airline is seeking to return its whole fleet to the skies by the end of the year.
What do you think the future holds for the global Airbus A380 fleet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!