One of the many ways our travel lives will change going forward is the loss of the Airbus A380 Super Jumbo Jet, all but killed off by coronavirus.
Airlines Retiring Some or All of Their A380 Fleet
With passenger loads lighter for the near future, smaller aircraft make more sense and many now exceed the distance of the A380. Few carriers offer the type, some have retired them permanently already. Here are the carriers that operated the A380 prior to coronavirus with announced changes to their fleets:
- Air France (fully retired)
- British Airways (unchanged fleet size)
- China Southern
- Emirates (likely reducing fleet from 115 to 59)
- Lufthansa (Fleet size halved)
- Malaysian (struggled prior to coronavirus with the fleet)
- Qantas (future uncertain)
- Singapore (retired many from the fleet but have not announced full retirement)
Airbus Shuts Down Production
Jumbo Jet demand has been low for some time but the A380 was put out of its misery in February, 2020. While remaining orders for delivery were thought to have possibly kept the line afloat or even reversed its closure, lowered demand due to coronavirus has put the final nail in the A380’s coffin.
Why Have These Planes Fallen Out of Favor?
While the planes were once seen as the flagship aircraft to replace the Queen of the Skies, the 747, many carriers that flew 747s didn’t immediately replace them with the A380. British Airways and Qantas, for example, flew both. So did Korean, Lufthansa, and others.
The Super Jumbo Jet is less advantageous for carriers due to its high cost and important load factor. Smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft provide greater schedule flexibility for customers with a lower cost per passenger and per flight.
Remembering the A380
Carly and I have had the pleasure of flying the A380 just a few times, and Lucy just twice. I loved the grandiosity of the aircraft and just how high it stood off the ground. I loved the cameras built into the plane that allowed aviation geeks like myself to watch the take-off and landing or approach into busy cities like New York, Seoul, and Los Angeles.
Most of those flights were aborad the Korean Air A380 which dates back to my very first blog post (be kind, it was a long time ago.)
I also had the chance to fly the aircraft with Qatar Airways.
It will be sad to see such a beautiful aircraft’s legacy end like the A380’s will. Some carriers will continue to fly the carrier, but any hopes of restarting the line have been dashed and it’s unlikely many of the carriers will fly the type long term. Snapping up tickets on the Super Jumbo should be a priority for any enthusiast before it’s too late.
What do you think? Have you flown the A380? What will you miss about it?