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British Airways A380 To Return to Service
During the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, British Airways grounded its Airbus A380 fleet, including 12 of the aircraft type. The potential for any change in the future seemed quite uncertain as the pandemic — and the year — went on.
Just a couple of months ago, however, the London-based flag carrier hinted at the possible return of its superjumbos when it brought back a handful of the aircraft from storage in Alice Springs, Australia and extended the maintenance contract for the A380.
Wednesday, that became a reality, as British Airways announced that its A380s would be returning to flight service much earlier than expected as border restrictions start lifting yet again. The airline plans to allow four A380s to operate starting in November, initially to various short-haul destinations in the interest of crew service familiarization.
More than likely, the A380s will be operating to help service the demand that has led to increased flight schedules to popular European cities such as Frankfurt and Madrid.
After a few more weeks and into December, the A380s’ operations will transition toward long-haul flights towards a number of U.S destinations, which will include major cities such as Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
A Bolstered Schedule
In addition to the widely welcomed news of the return of its superjumbos, British Airways also made the announcement that it was planning to operate its highest capacity schedule since March 2020, with several additional services to cities worldwide.
In an effort to capture even greater passenger demand, the airline is planning to add frequencies to sunnier destinations — such as Caribbean islands destinations, Dubai, the Maldives and Mauritius — during the winter and expectantly busy Christmas period.
And not forgetting the snow-lovers, British Airways has plans to restart flight operations to popular ski destinations such as Innsbruck, Austria; Grenoble, France and Salzburg, Austria
The airline is also planning to fly to more than 20 U.S cities this winter, with more than 240 flights per week, going beyond the reach of any other transatlantic carrier at the moment.
“This is an exciting time for British Airways and our customers as we see borders re-opening. With welcome news from the US, we are dramatically increasing flights and bringing home some of our A380s to give our customers as many options as possible. Elsewhere across our network we are also adding additional services to destinations all over the world, to ensure our customers can take advantage of a much-needed holiday,” Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said in a press release.
Back from Near Death
While the production end of the A380 and carriers such as Singapore Airlines dismantling some of their aircraft might have seemed like the final end to the new era of flying brought by the A380’s entry into service, it would seem that the A380 still has new life.
With the exception of Emirates, British Airways is one of a few airlines as of late to welcome back the A380 into their fleets, with the likes of Qatar Airways having returned the superjumbos back to service due to the grounding of some of its Airbus A350 XWBs. Another airline that will soon join in would be Australian flag carrier Qantas, which has future plans to bring back a similar handful of A380s and return them to service in the next year or so.
Perhaps as vaccination rates improve even more and as border restrictions remain flexible enough, it might change the mind of more airlines to return their superjumbos into service. Although it might also seem unlikely due to the high operating costs the aircraft carries with it, aviation enthusiasts can still hope to see more of these majestic beauties in the sky once again.
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