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A380 Superjumbo Makes Return as Travel Demand Skyrockets

A Lufthansa A380 parked after diverting to Austin. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the aviation industry in March of 2020, many carriers scrambled to send as many aircraft as they could to storage sites around the world in an effort to cut costs. Airlines looked first to the aircraft that they felt provided little value to them in times when passenger demand was at an all-time low. 

This meant that many of the world’s Airbus A380s made their way over to Tarbes in France, Teruel in Spain and a newly constructed storage facility in Alice Springs, Australia to name a few. Only China Southern, Korean Air, and Emirates kept some of their A380 fleets operational. 

Qantas A380s parked in storage at ComAv’s facility. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

This was until airlines saw demand for travel skyrocket. Airlines around the world are currently facing staffing, aircraft and high fuel costs as they try to meet demand that would be considered high in pre-pandemic years. The A380, when it was full to capacity, provided airlines with a way to transport around 525 passengers at once. Now, some airlines are bringing back the superjumbo with hopes it will help meet demand. 

The Return of the Superjumbo

Qantas, who parked all 12 of its A380s in the California desert, said when the pandemic began that it wouldn’t need any of them for at least three years and now, just over two years later, the carrier says it will begin to return to service.

British Airways has already begun to fly the A380 again and plans to ramp up service over the coming months.

Asiana Airlines announced it would bring back its A380s within a month and Lufthansa announced on Monday that its A380s would make a return to service in 2023. 

 

Executive Board Members of Deutsche Lufthansa AG told customers in a letter that: “In the summer of 2023, we not only expect to have a much more reliable air transport system worldwide. We will be welcoming you back on board our Airbus A380s, too. We decided today to put the A380, which continues to enjoy great popularity, back into service at Lufthansa in summer 2023. In addition to this, we are further strengthening and modernizing our fleets with some 50 new Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-9 long-haul aircraft and more than 60 new Airbus A320/321s in the next three years alone.”

Lufthansa knows that demand for travel is only going to get stronger but that doesn’t mean it did not come as a surprise when the airline decided to bring back the A380. Many thought they were likely gone for good. 

Air France retired its fleet of A380s saying costs to refurbish the aircraft would exceed 400 million euros. 

Ezra Gollan

Author

  • Ezra Gollan

    Ezra Gollan is a student, photographer and aviation enthusiast based in New York, New York. He has spent over half a decade around New York City’s airports as a photographer.

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