Lufthansa have withdrawn six A380’s from service with immediate effect and will return them to Airbus.
The six are the same aircraft that were scheduled for decommissioning and return to Airbus in 2022, but Lufthansa has said there is no way air travel will return to its previous levels, so the aircraft need to go now.
The Airbus A380 fleet isn’t the only victim. Out with the six A380s go seven A340-600s, three A340-300s, and five Boeing 747-400’s. They unlikely to fly for anyone else again, as Lufthansa has a decades old tradition of scrapping its aircraft. The best we might see is a new aviation tag.
Lufthansa had 14 A380’s and the six being retired were all leased. Anything less than ten is not considered especially easy to maintain as an operational fleet, and the fate of the remainder must be in doubt.
Lufthansa’s A380s seat a total of 509 passengers. Eight in first class, 78 in business class, 52 in premium economy, and 371 in economy, the premium seating was only recently fitted, and 509 is actually one of the higher seat totals. Even so the airline said that it was taking environmental considerations and fuel burn into consideration and that contributed to the decision.
Of 13 744’s 5 being retired drops the fleet to 8, again, a difficult to maintain number longer term. The A346 fleet is now down to 11 and they were being replaced in effect by A350’s. The A343 fleet will be reduced to 12.
The only large aircraft spared are the 748i’s which will retain their 19 total, but Lufthansa when they first entered service gave them just a ten year lifespan, which means the first of them is due for retirement in April 2022.
Lufthansa are also up against the Unions because they are still aiming to close down the GermanWings brand, which has somehow kept going despite the intention to close it after the pilot suicide disaster.
Airbus are now faced with another batch of A380’s nobody wants, so far only one has ever been sold for re-use, the majority are being scrapped.