As carriers slowly return the Airbus A380 to service, a significant number of aircraft remain on the ground.
The Queen of the Skies has graced airports worldwide since it debuted into commercial service. Despite the pandemic downturn for the Airbus A380, it has seen a kind of renaissance in recent months as carriers have begun returning their fleets to active service. However, despite many coming back into use, 124 of the mighty giants are undergoing maintenance, lie in storage, or have since been scrapped.
Aside from Emirates, a wide range of operators have reactivated the type or brought older models out of storage. Airlines flying the double-decker this year include British Airways, All Nippon Airways, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, and the potentially-merging Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.
Where are they being repaired?
The most notable of the Airbus A380 carriers, Emirates, has 15 of its fleet currently listed as out of service in Dubai. Fellow Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways has one remaining in maintenance, serial number A7-APG, at Doha Hamad International Airport. The Airbus A380 last flew from Frankfurt to Doha on the 18th of February. This particular aircraft was previously on display at Doha International Airport and bore the “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022” sticker in October 2022.
The flag carrier of Abu Dhabi, Etihad, has one Airbus A380 in maintenance at its base in the UAE. The aircraft registered A6-APG flew in from Tel Aviv via Lourdes, France, on March 18th. Australian carrier Qantas has three of its A380s undergoing maintenance at Abu Dhabi International Airport: VH-OQA, VH-OQC, and VH-OQI. Several of the Qantas super jumbos were due to return to service at the end of last year.
German carrier Lufthansa has two of the aircraft in maintenance at the moment. The first aircraft, D-AIMK, is currently sitting at Frankfurt Airport. The second registered D-AIMM, nicknamed Delhi, is listed as undergoing maintenance over 6,400 miles away at Manilla’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The airline had stored the plane in Tel Aviv before arriving in Manila on March 8th.
The Lufthansa Group runs a joint venture with Philippine MacroAsia Corporation called Lufthansa Technik Philippines, which provides line maintenance services to customers, including Philippine Airlines for the A320 family, A330, A340, A380, and Boeing 777 aircraft types.
Keep up with all the latest Airbus A380 news here.
In Asia, Asiana Airlines has one of its four remaining giants (HL7626) undergoing maintenance at Guangzhou Baiyun International. Japan’s All Nippon Airways has two A380s currently out of commission – JA383A in Tokyo and JA381A in Xiamen Gaoqi International. Two aircraft belonging to Singapore Airlines, 9K-SKT, and 9V-SKP, are presently understood to be undergoing repairs at Singapore Airport.
What is next for the remaining A380s?
Thirteen of the giants are listed as scrapped, and another two remain on display. The first is in Toulouse, France, the birthplace of the aircraft. A second is currently on display at Paris Le Bourget. Airbus remains committed to supporting the aircraft into the future, and Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury previously told Simple Flying that he wants the A380 to fly for as long as possible and will continue to support the airframe:
“We will support it as long as there are aircraft in service. Even more, it is the A380, and it’s so symbolic and so emblematic of our products. So full support to the A380 in service.”
Emirates announced that it would reintroduce its flagship aircraft to seven countries, including its route to Casablanca, Morocco. The airline will fly its A380 to 48 airports in 29 countries. The United Kingdom and the United States have five connections each, followed by Australia, with four.
Lufthansa confirmed it would resume A380 flights to Boston and New York beginning June 1st. The daily flights from Munich International Airport will depart for Boston Logan International under flight number LH424 and head for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport with flight number LH410.