It’s not the end of the road for the Airbus A380 as two more airlines announce plans to bring their supers back into service.
Given the exponential rise in bookings over the next year into summer 2023, Lufthansa has decided to bring back its remaining fleet of eight Airbus A380s in service from summer 2023. In a company letter from the executive board members of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, they said “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.”
The company also plans to support the rest of its bookings over the next few years with the addition of other models including the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-9. They further said “In addition to this, we are further strengthening and modernizing our fleets with some 50 new Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-9 long-haul aircraft and more than 60 new Airbus A320/321s in the next three years alone.”
Lufthansa ordered a total of 14 A380s, but parked them all across Spain and France due to the drop in travel demand as a result of the pandemic. The airline eventually sold six, keeping the remaining eight in “deep storage” or long term storage. Part of the decision to reintroduce the A380s can be linked to multiple delays of the Boeing 777-9 introduction, which has been pushed back as far as 2025 at the rate they are going.
Lufthansa’s A380s seat 509 passengers split across 8 in First Class, 78 business class seats, 52 in premium economy and 371 in economy class.
Now that South Korea has lifted all travel restrictions, Korean Air is full speed ahead restoring capacity across its entire network, reintroducing a number of previous routes, as well as new ones. They will increase flight frequencies and resume routes from July, to restore 50% of pre-pandemic international passenger capacity by September. They are also increasing its international passenger capacity to prepare for the peak travel season in July and August.
As part of their recovery plan, they will reintroduce its A380s from as early as July 2022, operating daily flights between Incheon and New York, and three flights per week on the Hong Kong route. Narita will also see A380 service daily starting in September. Besides its returning A380s, Korean is refitting seats on a number of pandemic preighters (passenger jets turned to makeshift freighters). So far it will convert 3 of 10 Boeing 777s back into passenger jets, along with some of its A330s which have been moving freight for most of the pandemic.
Korean Air is also restoring its inflight services to pre-COVID levels. During the pandemic, the airline used disposable products and simplified inflight food and beverage services to prevent the spread of the COVID. However, as COVID is now under control, the airline has been gradually restoring inflight food and beverage services as well as inflight items such as headphones and blankets since May, and plans to fully restore services in July.
Korean’s A380s can seat passengers with 12 in first class seats, 94 in business and 301 in economy.
As it stands, this brings the total number of active A380 operators up from 7, to 9 of 14 (if we prematurely count Lufthansa). Prior to these highlights, British Airways was the most recent to announce the return of its entire A380 super fleet.
[Featured Photo: Lufthansa Group]