Saturday marked the last flight of Air France’s Airbus A380, with a symbolic return flight of F-HPJH from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, exclusively reserved for Air France personnel who worked on the A380 .
As the Emirates announced that it would resume flight to the sky’s most expensive A380s on July 15, the global future for this breed of jet aircraft looks bleak.
Not all A380s work the same way: Air France’s fleet of 10 A380s each had nine seats in First Class La Première, 80 in Business Class, 38 in Premium Economy and 389 in Cattle.
Now they appear to be intended for living rooms, bonesards of the desert, or to be sold and refitted in new planes.
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Teal Group vice president, Richard Aboulafia analyzes recently warned, the aviation industry should expect an “A380 bloodbath” as the COVID-19 crisis accelerates retirements.
As International flight network reports, “The ongoing coronavirus pandemic … has led to many early retirements, in particular older, less efficient and simply too large aircraft types. “
“Although the Airbus A380 is not particularly old for aviation standards (it is not uncommon for long-haul aircraft to operate for 20 to 30 years before being retired), it does fit in overly large and less efficient categories, the latter being generally blamed on its four engines. ”
Air France is now the first airline to withdraw the aircraft in the midst of a pandemic. Although publications like International flight network some of the other 14 aircraft type operators are unlikely to follow suit, as many are considering reducing or completely stopping their A380 fleets.
“Lufthansa has already confirmed that it will remove six of the 14 Airbus A380s, as well as the Boeing 747-400s – another type of aircraft that has been hit hard by the economic impact of the Coronavirus. “
Air France serves 16 destinations with its A380s: New York JFK, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Mexico, Shanghai, Abidjan, Hong Kong, Miami, Tokyo, Montreal, Singapore, Atlanta, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with JFK being the first destination.
The last commercial flight of an Air France A380 was flight AF995, between Johannesburg and Paris CDG, on March 23. In total, Air France operated nearly 40,000 flights with its A380s and was piloted by nearly 18 million passengers.
At least, there are no bitter feelings, however: as Saturday’s farewell flight took off, “the passengers said goodbye to the venerable plane and expressed a positive feeling about the Emirates decision to make sure the big bird flies again. ” Track Girls Network reports.