In 2020 and 2021, we saw airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France retiring most, if not all, of their Airbus A380s; with many more airlines putting them in storage, some never to be used again. But now as the world begins to slowly emerge from the global pandemic, a new sign of hope has appeared as airlines are beginning to bring back the world’s biggest passenger plane. Qantas made a statement saying:
“The A380s work well on long haul routes when there’s sufficient demand, and the high vaccination rates in both markets would underpin this.”
We can be sure that most avgeeks are excited to see the A380 return and especially seen as a lot of airlines like China Southern Airlines,British Airways, Emirates and Qatar airways have kept a few of the super Jumbo. However, it can be likely that some of these airlines A380s will be kept in storage or retired soon. However, there is always a good to every bad and Qantas have also stated that they will be retiring 2 of their A380s as well. Malaysia airlines continues to operate a fleet of 6 A380s and uses them to transport valuable cargo like PPE for hospitals around the globe. However, they have recently stated that they will begin to phase out their fleet in the coming months.
If there is one airline that we all know has been consistent with their A380 use, it has to be Emirates; but what will we see happening to their fleet? Over the course of 2020, we saw Emirates receive 3 new A380s and send one into retirement. However, there is one problem that will affect every airline, Airbus has stopped production of it’s A380’s due to a low number of orders, seen as Emirates was the only real major investor. This could result in airlines having to use their A380s for longer because they can’t buy any new ones. Airbus still does have some planes. which will be delivered to Emirates, but those are the final ones.
What is the future for the A380 and which planes will eventually replace it?
It is likely that both the A350-900 and A350-1000 will replace the Super Jumbo after a few years, as these are fuel efficient, and the coronavirus pandemic has wiped out the business travel industry, meaning less people will be flying in the years to come. Therefore, many airlines are arguing that they just don’t need the A380 to carry that many people anymore. Etihad will be famous for having the Etihad Residence on it’s A380s, but could we see it appear again on it’s Boeing 777-300ERs?
Probably the A380s will disappear as quickly as they came back, and they will be deeply missed in the aviation community. But now is a time of hope, as the world recovers and the aviation industry begins to bloom again, the Super Jumbo can finally thrive again.