Will Other Airlines Follow Emirates And Unground The Airbus A380?

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Time and again, we’ve reported about the sad demise of the Airbus A380 due to the current crisis. However, there is hope. Yesterday we noted that Emirates would be resurrecting its fleet of the giant of the skies for flights from mid-July. Will other airlines follow suit, though? Let’s find out!

Airbus, A380, Storage
Will other airlines follow Emirates in returning the Airbus A380 to service? Photo: Getty Images

Why is Emirates bringing the Airbus A380 back?

Emirates is in a unique position when it comes to the Airbus A380. While most airlines’ fleets of the aircraft comprise of between 6-12 aircraft, Emirates is most certainly an outlier. Indeed, the airline has cemented its future with the Airbus A380, with a fleet of 115 of the aircraft. That doesn’t include eight more that are still being built.

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For the time being, Emirates has been managing its limited network of flights with its Boeing 777 fleet. Given that such a small number of cities was being served, and small passenger loads were experienced, this was to be expected.

However, two key things are now changing. Firstly, Emirates is slowly reopening its route network, meaning that more aircraft are needed for services. Secondly, Dubai is opening to tourists on the 7th of July.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Johannesburg
Most of the British Airways Airbus A380 fleet is currently stored in Chateauroux, France. Photo: Getty Images

As we previously explored, before the crisis the United Kingdom was key to Emirates’ route network, with 25% of the airline’s capacity directed to the country. As such, it would be expected that this route would be popular once Dubai reopens. Using an Airbus A380 on this busy route would allow the Dubai carrier to free up Boeing 777s to open routes with slightly less demand.

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Will other airlines follow suit?

While Emirates’ Airbus A380s make up around half of the world’s fleet, many other airlines are operating the type. Should we also expect them to relaunch A380 services soon?

The short answer is, sadly, no. As we previously mentioned, the Emirates fleet situation is unique in that it is the only scheduled A380 operator with just two aircraft types. Other airlines have far more flexibility. Take British Airways, for example. The A380 only makes up around 4% of the airline’s fleet.

Lufthansa, Long Haul, Grounded
Lufthansa had already decommissioned six Airbus A380s in April. Photo: Getty Images

As Simple Flying understands, British Airways currently intends to keep the Airbus A380 in its long-term fleet plan. The aircraft has worked well for the British flag carrier as it used the plane to unlock slots by merging flights on high capacity routes.

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However, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if other airlines don’t take the same approach with bringing the aircraft back. Air France has already scrapped its fleet of the plane, while Lufthansa has ditched half of its fleet.

While we will likely see the Airbus A380 return to the skies given its young age to some carriers, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the world’s fleet starts to get even smaller.

When do you think other carriers will return the Airbus A380 to operation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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