The death of the Airbus A380 has been greatly exaggerated. Several airlines have revealed plans to bring their superjumbos out of storage as travel demand rises up and borders reopen following the COVID-19 epidemic.
So, what routes are they going to run? AeroTime examines which airlines will resume service with the A380 in 2021 and early 2022.
What about Emirates, the world’s largest Airbus A380 operator? Despite the fact that well over half of its fleet has been parked, it has continued to operate the jet during the pandemic.
On September 27, 2021, the airline announced that it would be flying more superjumbos in 2021, with intentions to bring back more than 50 A380s by the end of the year.
According to Planespotters.net, it currently has 43 A380s in operation and 77 in storage.
One of the planes is painted in a special “nose-to-tail” livery to celebrate the Dubai Expo 2020, which is currently taking place.
Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY), the world’s first airline to fly the Airbus A380 in 2007, stated on October 14, 2021, that the aircraft would return to its fleet on November 18, 2021.
The A380 will return to Singapore Airlines’ London service. The A380 will now fly as SQ317, the vaccinated travel lane flight between Heathrow (LHR) and Changi Airport (SIN).
From November 4 to December 3, 2021, the airline will train crews on short familiarization flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur (KUL).
More good news for A380 fans: SIA announced on October 22 that beginning December 1, 2021, it will operate the A380 on routes to Sydney, offering additional capacity for Christmas travel.
Because Australia’s borders have finally opened up, Qantas has been quite busy revealing route plans for October 2021.
On October 22, 2021, the Australian flag carrier announced that it would move the return of its A380 fleet forward. It had intended to begin operations to LAX and LHR with five A380s in July 2022.
From April 2022, two A380s will begin flights to LAX. By the end of 2021, one of the planes could be back in the Qantas fleet for crew training.
Beginning April 1, 2022, A380 flights to Los Angeles can be booked online.
Three more Qantas A380s are set to return to service in mid-November 2022, with the remaining five scheduled to return in early 2024.
Qantas has 12 A380s in storage at the moment. The announcement on October 22 covered plans for ten aircraft, implying that two A380s will still be retired.
The British flag carrier stated on October 6, 2021, that its A380s would return in November, a month earlier than expected. It now owns a fleet of 12 A380s but aims to return five of them, to begin with.
In December 2021, the airline plans to operate the A380 on regular flights to Miami (MIA), Los Angeles (LAX), and Dubai (DXB).
Flights from DXB to DXB will begin on December 3, 2021. BA’s A380 flights to MIA begin on December 5, while BA’s A380 flights to LAX begin on December 9.
Prior to then, it will use the A380 to fly short-haul routes for crew training. Between November 8 and December 2, 2021, London Heathrow will offer short-haul flights to Frankfurt and Madrid.
Qatar Airways is bringing back its A380s, but not because it loves the plane. The purchase of the superjumbo, according to CEO Akbar Al-Baker, was the airline’s “worst error.”
The Doha-based carrier requires the A380s to compensate for the capacity lost by its A350s, which are now grounded due to a fuselage surface issue.
On September 29, 2021, Al-Baker informed Executive Traveller that Qatar would begin flying the A380s in early November 2021, with intentions to bring back five of its ten A380s. However, the CEO did not rule out the possibility of bringing back all ten A380s.
From December 15, 2021, Qatar Airways aims to begin daily flights with the A380 between London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).