Lufthansa repatriates its fifth A380

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The return of the Airbus A380 at Lufthansa continues to progress with a fifth return to service underway. And it’s not over: 8 of the 14 original A380s must be returned to service while awaiting the arrival of new models.

With the traditional shaking of the wings as a sign of goodbye, D-AIMC “Peking” bid farewell to its exile from La Belle in the south of France on October 5 and then set course for Frankfurt. This is Lufthansa’s fifth Airbus A380 to return to active service. The “Peking” was stored at Tarmac Aerosave in Tarbes since January 2021. The same day, Lufthansa actually wanted to resume the daily connection of Munich has Los Angeles with the A380, but postponed the change until the end of the month, indicates the German site Flugrevue. The three A380s currently in operation will therefore continue to be used on routes to the east coast of the United States. Aircraft with registration numbers D-AIMK, D-AIMM and D-AIML currently regularly connect the Bavarian capital Munich with New York and Boston. The group’s fourth A380, D-AIMN, is still in maintenance in Manila, Philippines and will soon be back in service. From October 28, Lufthansa plans to once again use its popular flagship on daily flights to Bangkok.

Meanwhile, three of the remaining A380s in Teruel, Spain, are waiting to be decommissioned by Tarmac Aerosave. According to current plans, Lufthansa wants to return a total of eight of the 14 original superjumbos. Lufthansa will reactivate its two oldest A380s between 2024 and 2025.

Due to high demand, Lufthansa has returned the world’s largest passenger aircraft to service. The A380 was withdrawn from service three years ago because it was considered too big, too expensive and there was a lack of demand during pandemic. With all these arguments in mind, Lufthansa put its A380 planes in the hangar in September 2021, at the height of the pandemic. The last plane used carried 449 passengers from Bangkok to Frankfurt. It was part of a fleet of 14 aircraft of this type that Lufthansa put into service between 2010 and 2015. Their return to service is no longer just a temporary solution: Lufthansa is preparing them for the coming years with a new business class.

The group is faced with delivery delays persistent for new intercontinental aircraft, in particular 777-9 (20 on order); she continues to gradually receive A350-900 (21 in its fleet, 34 remaining to be delivered), A350-1000 (ten waiting), 787-9 (5 in its fleet, 34 to come). “The manufacturers’ problems are deep”, declared Carsten Spohr, boss of Lufthansa, who does not foresee rapid improvements. According to Spohr, Lufthansa must therefore turn to older planes like the A380, without giving them a new release date. However, investments in the cabin indicate that it will continue to be used at least until the end of the decade. Spohr spoke of a “costly decision”, but which should prove profitable for Lufthansa – as passengers specifically book A380 flights: “Customer feedback is positive (…) demand continues unabated. »

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