December 2019: Air France, which is France’s flag carrier and one of the world’s biggest airlines, have officialy retired their first airbus A380.
It is only the second airline to do so, after Singapore airlines retired 5 of the aircraft so far over the last 2 years.
The retired aircraft registered : F-HPJB, Flew form Paris to Malta where it will be painted to an all white livery and given back to it’s lessors Dr. Peters Group. It was the second aircraft to be delivered to the airline on February 2010.
Air France was the 4th airline to operate the A380 after Singapore airlines, Emirates and Qantas; and has a fleet of 10 aircraft which they plan to retire by 2022.
It has been shown that Air France’s A380 fleet was not as profitable as it has been to other airlines like Emirates, and they plan to have them replaced by a new fleet consisting mostly of A350s which they have just started taking deliveries for.
The big question to ask here is: With the retirements of the A380 type starting only a decade after it first enters service show that the aircraft was an economical failure for some airlines?
In my opinion, the A380 does very well in the hub airport scheme. For instance, Emirates have a total of more that 120 A380s and they all operate out of their hub in Dubai with increasing profits annually. But for smaller hubs and more expensive airlines like Air France, the planes don’t simply fill up as much profit.
The future for the A380 dosen’t look good, with ever increasing fuel prices and more economical aircraft rolling out the production line every day. Orders for the A380 will soon be fulfilled and we will reach the end of is glorious short reign in our skies.