Lufthansa may retire Airbus A380, other jumbo jets in fleet overhaul, report says

Sep 11, 2020

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There may be another nail in the coffin of the Airbus A380. That comes with the news that Lufthansa may retire its fleet of the superjumbo jets as part of its coronavirus pandemic-driven restructuring.

The Frankfurt-based Star Alliance carrier is considering retiring its all of its A380s and Boeing 747-400s, plus many of its Airbus A340s, according to Bloomberg, which cites unnamed people familiar with the restructuring proposal. The removals would be in addition to the company’s previous plans to retire 100 aircraft across the Lufthansa Group airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS.

As of the end of June, the group flew eight A380s, 43 A340s and 27 747s though the latter includes both 747-400s and 747-8s. However, many of these planes are already temporarily parked, including all of the A380s.

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The A380 is among the planes hardest hit by COVID-19. Designed for high-demand routes to busy airports, the jets have proved far too much plane for the historically low passenger numbers during the pandemic. Nearly every operator parked their jets early on with many evaluating the future of the superjumbo in their fleets long term.

Since the pandemic began, Air France has retired its A380s while the likes of British Airways and Qantas Airways have put their planes in long-term storage.

Lufthansa has already retired six A380s leaving it with just the eight it has in storage. It has also retired five 747-400s.

Related: Lufthansa grounds Germanwings subsidiary, retires some A380s and 747s

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines globally, does not expect air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Long-haul international flying where the A380 shone is expected to return slower than short-haul trips.

COVID-19 is not the only threat to the A380. The plane was already something of a white elephant for Airbus due to its size and lacklustre sales. In February, the French planemaker decided to end production of the superjumbo following a final delivery to Emirates in 2021.

A Lufthansa spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Related: Air France operates its final A380 flight

Featured image by Ryan Patterson for The Points Guy.

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