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The first out of 10 Airbus A380 operated by Air France has been already returned to the lessor Dr. Peters Group and reached Malta to be stripped of the carrier’s livery. After Singapore Airlines, the French carrier has become the second one to phase this superjumbo jet out of its fleet.
Earlier this year Air France announced that the main reasons behind these retirements are 20-25% bigger fuel per seat consumption (compared to new generation long-haul aircraft), increased CO2 emissions as well as high maintenance costs.
This way “the current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate”, correspondingly reducing “economic attractiveness of Air France’s A380s even further”.
While Airbus will end the production of world’s biggest commercial aircraft in 2021, Air France plans to eliminate the last Airbus A380 from its fleet in 2022. Instead, the airline will supplement its fleet for long-haul flights with newer and more efficient aircraft.
The Fate of Airbus A380
It is still not clear what will happen to particularly this A380. The first ever Airbus A380, which was operated by Singapore Airlines, has been already scrapped and recycled as spare parts for other A380s, other aircraft, or other industries all together.
The second of double deckers previously flown by Singapore Airlines has opened the “second-hand A380 market” and was delivered to the Portuguese wet-lease carrier Hi Fly.
Thus, there are plenty of the possible scenarios. Maybe the first Airbus A380 from the Air France fleet will join Hi Fly, maybe it will be handed over to another airline, maybe it will be also packed away. The time will show.