Lufthansa's mothballed Airbus A380s may return in 2022, or maybe never

The German carrier says it will likely never fly the A380 again from Frankfurt.

By Bloomberg News, June 19 2020
Lufthansa's mothballed Airbus A380s may return in 2022, or maybe never

Lufthansa's fleet of Airbus A380 jets will be mothballed for at least two years and may never return to service as demand for long-haul travel remains subdued in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

With Lufthansa already retiring about half of its 14 superjumbos, remaining jets will be relegated to its secondary hub in Munich. Flights could resume there in 2022 if there’s enough demand on “thick” routes such as New York and Chicago, said Klaus Froese, who runs the carrier’s main Frankfurt base.

“In Frankfurt, the chance that we will again operate any A380 is close to zero. That’s all but decided,” he said. “In Munich we will have to see. Planning is very difficult in these times.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is hastening the demise of the A380 as a front-line aircraft, with Air France phasing out the jet and Dubai-based Emirates, the largest operator, said to be mulling plans that could see 65 retired.

Lufthansa grounded the double-decker in March with the rest of its passenger fleet as the virus spread, and has said seven planes will be permanently withdrawn.

Froese said that while the current plan is for the remaining A380s to make a comeback, that will only happen if they have a role to play, and that what was once a marquee model has lost its allure, especially since Airbus decided to call a halt to the program after orders dried up.

“This is no longer a question of prestige, that’s a thing of the past,” he said. “It changed pretty quickly since the decision to no longer build the aircraft.”

Munich, which began limited A380 services in 2018, may be a better fit for the mammoth jet because costs at a terminal part-owned by Lufthansa are lower, and fewer, higher-capacity frequencies may be better suited to the market.

Lufthansa expects to take delivery of Boeing's first 777X jets from the middle of next year, Froese said. Those planes are set to be deployed at Frankfurt, with Munich served by the rival Airbus A350.

Airline CEO Carsten Spohr has said the fleet will be cut by about 100 aircraft overall, with retirements skewed to the biggest, thirstiest aircraft.

Lufthansa has also permanently withdrawn 10 A340s and five Boeing 747-400s. Remaining examples of the aging four-engine models are also likely to exit earlier than planned, though the smaller A340-300 variant may last longer and the upgraded 747-8 still has a future, Froese said.

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 81

Looks like there will be an opportunity to buy a lot of very cheap aircraft...hmmm, maybe a few more start ups looking to cram 650+pax to lift and shift, potential military uses for troop deployment etc.

Just need a vaccine though...!!!

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 92

Reality remains the same: when travel picks up (2022/23) and Some airports are still slot constrained, no way can we sub a 77X or whatever for the capacity offered by an A380.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Lufthansa's mothballed Airbus A380s may return in 2022, or maybe never