Following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Air France has announced it will immediately retire its Airbus A380 fleet.
“In the context of the current COVID19 crisis and its impact on anticipated activity levels, the AirFranceKLM Group announces the definitive end of AirFrance Airbus A380 operations, initially scheduled by the end of 2022,” read the Air France-KLM Group statement.
“The phase-out of Airbus A380 fleet fits in the Air France-KLM Group fleet simplification strategy of making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint,” it read further.
Withdrawing the A380s immediately allows Air France to redeploy pilots and save on storage costs. It is more expensive to put an aircraft into temporary storage than long-term parking.
Air France last year decided to retire three A380s and its remaining seven by 2022. One A380 had already been withdrawn under the original plan. The other A380s are parked and now will not return to service.
Since passenger traffic will take a few years to recover, there is a small or even non-existent window for the Air France A380s to be used for a few months before their 2022 retirement.
According to Air France, five A380s are either owned or on a financial lease, while the other four are on an operating lease. The incoming A350s and Boeing 787s will take over the routes that Air France deployed the A380 on.
The airline first took delivery of the superjumbo in October 2009 making it the first airline in Europe to operate the aircraft.
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