Air France retires its first Airbus A380

Air France retired its first Airbus A380, marking the beginning of the withdrawal process of its fleet of ten superjumbos. The aircraft should soon be returned to the lessor.

After carrying out a last flight between Johannesburg Airport (JNB) and its base of Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), the A380, registered F-HPJB, was sent to Malta on November 23, 2019. It was the first A380 that entered service with the French national carrier in February 2010.

The company Aviation Cosmetics Malta is now going to paint the livery of the aircraft in white. The superjumbo will then be sent back to the German leasing company Dr Peters Group, whose first A380 was completely scrapped earlier this month.

The delivery to the lessor is expected in February 2020. The future of the aircraft is unknown. However, a new paint job would indicate that this A380 will not be scrapped yet and could soon fly with a new company.

One of the first measures of the newly appointed CEO of Air France-KLM Ben Smith was to reduce the A380 fleet by half. When presenting its financial results for the second quarter of 2019, Air France-KLM group sealed the fate of the aircraft by announcing that it would let go of all its superjumbos. “The current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate,” stated the group, adding that “keeping this aircraft in the fleet would involve significant costs, while the aircraft programme was suspended by Airbus earlier in 2019.” All ten aircraft should be retired by 2022. Their capacity should not be replaced completely.

Air France is the second airline in the world to retire its A380s, after Singapore Airlines, which has already let go five of the 24 superjumbos it was operating.



Image: BriYYZ