Many airlines that operate the A380 have said that they plan to halt flights until after the current crisis is over. But looking online, many of these airlines are, in fact, still operating A380 flights. Which airlines have grounded them and which are still flying?
Who has the A380?
The Airbus A380 is a fantastic aircraft. It can fly around 500 passengers vast distances and form the backbone of many long-haul international routes. However, in a period of low demand, many airlines have said that they will halt A380 flights as it is simply not economical to fly them.
Currently, the following airlines have the A380:
- Singapore Airlines
- Air France
- Korean Air
- China Southern Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Thai Airways
- British Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Hi Fly Malta
- All Nippon Airways
Let’s go over each and discover if their A380 fleet is grounded or still operating.
Singapore operates 19 Airbus A380s. Three of which are currently not operating, but the rest of the fleet is deployed on active routes between Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Zurich, and London.
In the next 24 hours, Australia plans to close most of its borders to outside travelers so it is unknown if Singapore will continue flights (if only for those Australians trying to return home or foreigners leaving Australia).
Emirates has the largest fleet of A380s in the world and currently flies 115. It also has eight A380s still on order with Airbus. However, Emirates has made plans to ground 20+ Airbus A380s in the next few days.
Currently, the UAE has banned all tourists from visiting the country, but as most of the Emirates, traffic is transferring onwards to another destination, the airline has seen fit to keep flying.
Qantas has made headlines with the news that it is grounding its entire fleet of 12 A380s. However, according to FlightRadar, many of these aircraft are still flying despite looming plans for the airline to essentially shut down internationally by the end of the month.
Of the 12 on its books, two are currently undergoing refurbishment whilst the rest are operating to London, Dallas, and Los Angeles. We expect to see this airline operating them frequently to get as many Australians back home as possible.
Air France operates nine A380s across its vast route network. Currently, two are grounded but the seven others are operating routes to Los Angeles, Miami, Johannesburg and Mexico City. Interestingly, the latter two destinations both have a pair of A380s each assigned to them in the next 24 hours.
Lufthansa has 14 A380s on its record, but only four have flown in the last week (with the rest grounded since the 13th of March). Those four have all flown staggered flights to Bangkok in Thailand, with each returning back to Frankfurt and not leaving. Likely these were rescue flights for Germans still in Thailand to get them home.
South Korea has been a major epicenter for the virus, and likely its A380 fleet of 10 aircraft has been the most affected. Not a single one of its A380 aircraft has flown, with all A380s mothballed until the end of this crisis.
China Southern Airlines
China has also been a ground zero location for the virus, with China Southern restricting the majority of its flights over the last few months. Of its five A380s, only one has been operating to Los Angeles. It does not have a return flight scheduled at this time, but likely its the start of the airline reopening routes.
Currently, the entire fleet of Malaysia Airlines’ A380s is grounded.
Thai Airways seems to be the opposite of rival Malaysia Airlines, operating its six A380s still to Frankfurt and London with no signs of slowing down.
British Airways only has one of 12 A380s grounded (likely for maintenance) and is still using them to fly extensively around the world. Britain has found itself in a unique position that it is still open to many destinations around the world despite many countries closing borders to the European Union.
Another Korean carrier, Asiana Airlines has found its entire fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft grounded in this current crisis. A single A380 flew as recently as a week ago from Germany back to its hub airport in Seoul.
Qatar has a fleet of 10 A380s. However, most of its aircraft are deployed on the European to Australia route with some passing through Italy and Germany. With Australia closing its borders by this evening, it doesn’t look good for the future of this aircraft.
Etihad is in a similar position as Qatar, with many of its transcontinental routes under threat from border closures. However, as of now, flights are still going strong.
All Nippon Airways
ANA has three A380s on its books, but only two are currently flying the Tokyo to Honolulu route. It is unknown when they will suspend flights, if at all.
The world’s favorite for-hire A380 is currently not flying and grounded. This is likely for commercial reasons and not because of the virus (after all, if some airlines are struggling to use their own A380s, then Hi Fly would find it tough to hire out).
What do you think? Have we missed an A380? Let us know in the comments.