Lufthansa made the decision to ground its entire fleet of 14 Airbus A380s after the global outbreak of coronavirus in early March.
|Lufthansa Says Airbus A380s Won’t Return for at Least Two Years. Photo: Lufthansa|
Lufthansa has already retired half of its Airbus A380s. The airline has also planned to remove the A380s from the Frankfurt flying schedule entirely.
Meanwhile, according to Lufthansa’s spokesperson, the remaining A380s won’t return back to service for at least two years, until 2021 and may never be returned to use.
The main reason behind this decision is that interest in long-haul air travel remains limited due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions across many countries.
|Photo: Munich Airport|
Lufthansa used to flew its A380s to a number of U.S. destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, along with several Asian destinations including Bangkok, Delhi, Hong Kong and Seoul.
Flights could resume there in two years if there’s enough demand on “thick” routes such as New York and Chicago, said Klaus Froese, who runs the carrier’s main Frankfurt base.
In a statement, Klaus also said:
“In Frankfurt, the chance that we will again operate any A380 is close to zero. That’s all but decided. In Munich we will have to see. Planning is very difficult in these times.”
There are also chances that Lufthansa’s A380s won’t return back to regular passenger service. Lufthansa’s capacity at its main hub in Frankfurt and Munich will also be significantly reduced.
Froese also said that while the current plan is for the remaining seven A380s to make a return, that will only happen if they have a role to play only after two years.
|A380s parked after the outbreak Photo: Munich Airport|
The Airbus A380 superjumbo has proved to be a boon to few airlines with the likes of Emirates and British Airways, at huge slot constrained airports.
Although, Lufthansa’s Frankfurt base is also slot constrained, Lufthansa has decided not to operate the A380s in the foreseeable future, as the airline is expecting demand recovery to take 2-3 years.
|Air France has retired its entire fleet of A380s. Photo: Air France
Although, Emirates is committed to the Airbus A380, other airlines are not so committed to the A380. Air France has already retired its entire fleet of A380s.
|Emirates first A380 painted white for retirement. Photo: @Saeed_AlAli
Munich, which started providing A380 services to select destinations in 2018, could be more suitable for the superjumbo because costs at a Lufthansa-owned terminal are lower.
Lufthansa used to fly its A380s from it’s Munich hub to Beijing, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Shanghai. Higher-capacity frequencies may be suitable for the market.
|Lufthansa started A380 service from Munich in 2018. Photo: Munich Airport|
Recently, Lufthansa’s first Boeing 777X was spotted outside the factory for the first time in Seattle. The aircraft was seen on the Everett flight line at Paine Field.
Lufthansa is the launch customer of the Boeing 777X aircraft. These Boeing 777s will be deployed in Frankfurt and Munich starting mid-2021, as the manufacturer is working to deliver the first aircraft by the first quarter of 2021.
|Lufthansa’s first Boeing 777X has been spotted Photo: Lufthansa
Lufthansa’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, has already said the carrier’s fleet will shrink by about 100 aircraft overall, with recalls primarily of larger, cost-effective and more fuel-efficient aircraft.
Lufthansa has already announced the retirement of 7 of its Airbus A380s, 10 A340-600s as well as 5 Boeing 747-400s. Along with this, 11 Airbus A320s will also be retired from short-haul operations.
|Lufthansa has retired some A380s along with A340s and 747s. Photo: Getty|
The 7 Airbus A380s were already scheduled for sale to Airbus in 2022. However, due to effects of coronavirus the retirement date is now moved earlier. As of now, it is unclear what will happen to these A380s.
Regarding the Airbus A380 fleet status, a Lufthansa spokesperson said:
“A total of 14 A380s have been withdrawn from operations.”
“A concrete date for reuse is still open,” the spokesperson added.
Lufthansa has grounded majority of its aircraft due to current global crisis at different locations across Europe.
Lufthansa was the first one to trim flights in response of COVID-19 outbreak and the first to essentially ground the entire fleet of around 790 aircraft.
|Lufthansa aircraft parked at Frankfurt Airport Photo: Bloomberg
Lufthansa was negotiating with the government for state aid, though there’s a chance the carrier may actually turn it down. The final decision has not been announced yet.
Lufthansa Group’s CEO Carsten Spohr has already said that the carrier can’t survive any longer without state aid at this time of crisis.
|Lufthansa is losing 1 million euro per hour. Photo: Lufthansa|
Lufthansa announced that it is losing €1 million per hour so far since the crisis began due to the outbreak of novel corona virus. The airline has already planned to restructure and downsize some of its fleet.
Have you ever flown on a Lufthansa A380? Do you think they will return back to service? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below: