More A380s are back in service soon? The iconic Airbus A380 superjumbos are making an unexpected comeback following post-pandemic pent-up travel demands. Even though the superjumbos had somewhat fallen out of favor with global airlines in recent years, airlines are now looking to add up capacity by bringing the jumbos back in service.
Despite all the hurdles, the superjumbo’s fortune might be on the up again, despite high fuel prices. Are more airlines looking to reactivate their superjumbos?
Currently, British Airways, China Southern, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines have been operating the A380s, soon to be followed by Japan’s ANA and South Korea’s Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.
Lufthansa To Reactivate Airbus A380 for Summer 2023
Last week Lufthansa’s CEO told media at the IATA AGM that his airline was considering returning the jumbos, as a short-term option, to cope with the surge in travel demand as restrictions are eased around the world. However, the airline hadn’t finalized whether it would reactivate the A380s or not at that time.
“I had to soften my stance on ruling out the, with 777-9 delayed we might bring in 777-300ERs or reactivate A380 for summer 2023, decision until July 2022.”CEO Carsten Spohr via Andreas Spaeth
Fast forward, just one week later, the carrier has now announced its decision to reactivate some of the A380s by March 2023, in response to the steep rise in customer demand and the delayed delivery of ordered aircraft.
“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.”Lufthansa’s Executive Board Members
Lufthansa has 14 Airbus A380s, which are currently parked in Spain and France for long-term storage or the so called “deep storage”. Six of these aircraft have already been sold, eight A380s remain part of the Lufthansa fleet for the time being.
The airline expects to use the long-haul aircraft, which is popular with customers and crews, again from summer 2023. The company is currently assessing how many A380s will be reactivated and which destinations the Airbus will fly to.
Qatar Airways to Reactivate More Airbus A380s
Qatar Airways is currently flying five A380s on flights to London Heathrow, Paris, Sydney, and Bangkok. The Gulf carrier has also revealed that it will be bringing back three more A380s for a total of eight, to add up more capacity on key routes.
Qatar Airways A380s will be operating as follows in mid-August:
- Bangkok: 2x daily
- London Heathrow: 2x daily
- Paris CDG: 1x daily
- Sydney: 1x daily
Two of Qatar’s remaining A380s will remain grounded for now. However, they might eventually make their way back to the skies given the ongoing A350 groundings and the delay in Boeing’s 777X program.
Korean Air Reactivating More A380s
Korean Air has also decided to return more A380s to service bringing it to a total of three by the end of this year. It is also looking for A380 pilots on a five-year contract, meaning that the jumbos will still be flying after the mid-2020s.
“Passengers, they love the plane and we have a lot of business class seats on it so it is a very good aircraft to fly on high-demand routes.”Korean Air Lines Chief Executive Walter Cho
Korean Air A380s will operate as follows from July:
- New York-JFK: 1x daily
- Hong Kong: 3x weekly
In 2019, Korean Air used to fly its jumbos on flights to Bangkok, Heathrow, JFK, Los Angeles, Paris, Sydney, and Taipei.
Asiana Airlines Resuming More A380 Flights
Asiana resumed daily flights between Seoul and Bangkok on June 25th, last week using the Airbus A380. The jumbo jet is also scheduled to return to Los Angeles in late July, joining 11 weekly flights by the A350s.
Asiana A380s will operate as follows:
- Bangkok: 1x daily (Resumed from June 25th)
- Los Angeles: 3x weekly from July 22nd
The frequency of these flights might be increased depending on the passenger demand. Before the pandemic, Asiana used to fly its jumbos on key routes to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Osaka, and Tokyo Narita.
Emirates CEO Urges for Even Larger Aircraft
Speaking to AirlineRatings’ Andreas Spaeth, Emirates CEO Tim Clark urged Airbus’s CEO to make plans for a future very large aircraft with zero-emission engines to meet the gradually increasing medium to long-haul travel demands.
“You’ve got to look at the mid-2030s…where does it get you? Eight billion people traveling. How are you going to accommodate that eight billion if you leave it to the single aisles and the small twins?”Emirates CEO Tim Clark via Andreas Spaeth
In order to cope with the growing travel demands, he hopes to find a way so that the prices won’t rocket for airfares, with huge demand and smaller jets. He urged to make large aircraft with environmentally friendly engines using synthetic fuel. He also highlighted the importance of the Airbus A380s and mentioned that he would build another A380 twice the size of its predecessor.
“Lighter, faster, and cheap to operate, you then have the propulsions which possibly work off synthetic fuel, partly or 100% eventually. I would build another A380 twice the size because of the zero-emissions engines we have now, with four, possibly three engines.”Emirates CEO Tim Clark via Andreas Spaeth
Do you agree with Emirates CEO’s thoughts? Do you think Airbus will draft an Airbus A380 successor in near future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below:
Cover image: via Lufthansa News Twitter