Lufthansa’s last A380 jets are currently enjoying their retirement in the Spanish sun. But the calm could soon be over. The airline is thinking intensively about reactivation of the giant aircraft.
It would be the comeback of the year in the aviation industry and quite a reversal at that: Lufthansa is seriously considering reactivating its eight remaining A380 giant jets. The reason for this is the Germans’ new, old desire to travel, as Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr explained at the General Assembly of the World Aviation Association IATA on Monday in Doha.
A decision on the return of the world’s largest passenger airline, which can carry more than 500 passengers, is expected to be made this July. The first flights would probably not take place until summer 2023.
Eight A380s parked in the Spanish sun
The Lufthansa fleet originally consisted of 14 A380 machines, six of which the group sold back to manufacturer Airbus. The remaining eight giant jets are currently in the Spanish region of Aragon. Teruel Airport there is considered the ideal resting place for aircraft: on the one hand because of the comparatively low parking fees, as a Lufthansa spokesman hessenschau.de said on Monday; on the other hand because of the good weather conditions. The drought protects the corrosion-prone machines.
The spokesman said it was not yet possible to estimate how many of the eight giant birds parked there by Lufthansa could be reactivated. Should they return, the A380 would be used on intercontinental flights. The company spokesman named Asia and the USA as possible destinations. Before the pandemic-related retirement in 2020, the Airbus flew to around San Francisco and New York.
Return of the Airbus recently ruled out
In order to make such a machine airworthy at all, it needs a lead time of a few weeks: Because when a plane first reaches Teruel Airport, it is transferred there to the so-called “Deep Storage” mode shifted: not only are all openings on the fuselage taped over, the sensitive devices inside the machines are also removed.
Once you have reached Teruel, you should normally not leave your pitch again so quickly. Until recently, this also applied to Lufthansa’s A380 fleet. So it was only in April that CEO Spohr ruled out a comeback for the A380: “It won’t come back at Lufthansa,” he told Der Spiegel. In May, Spohr opened the door a crack for some of the eight remaining machines in the series – but only if demand recovered unexpectedly. That now seems to have happened.
Hundreds of flights canceled in summer
At the beginning of June, Lufthansa announced that it wanted to cancel around 900 intra-European flights in the current summer timetable – around 600 of them in Frankfurt alone. The airline cited staff shortages in the entire aviation industry as the reason. If everything were left as it is, spiraling delays could lead to mass flight cancellations with thousands of stranded passengers.
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