Airbus A380: Where to fly in a superjumbo as aviation returns

(CNN) – When Airbus announced plans to cease production of its A380 aircraft in 2019, heartbroken aviation fans found solace in the fact that the superjumbo was not destined to stop flying anytime soon.

Production of this much-loved aircraft was to continue for another couple of years and many airlines had active A380s in their fleet.

But a year ahead, the A380’s sheer size and steep operating costs had no place in the pandemic’s minimal and economic international flight times.

Due to Covid-19, most of the world’s A380 fleet has been grounded.

Lufthansa’s decision to park its A380 has turned into the German carrier that has permanently withdrawn the superjumbo. The latest A380 decorated with the Air France livery has taken its final flight. It was increasingly unclear whether the A380 would survive closure.

But while the days of the A380s are undoubtedly numbered, some airlines have announced plans to get the plane back into the air. Singapore Airlines will restore the A380 in November 2021 on flights to London, the same month British Airways will fly superjumbo from the UK to Europe.

If you’re still hoping to experience the memorable, spacious interior and peaceful flight experience before the plane becomes a thing of the past, here’s our round-up of the A380 airline routes for you to check out.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has 12 A380s in its fleet.

Singapore Airlines has 12 A380s in its fleet.

Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty Images

The A380’s first commercial voyage in 2007 was via Singapore Airlines, from Singapore to Sydney.

Prior to the pandemic, Singapore Airlines had 17 A380s. They were all on the ground when Covid-19 struck and in November 2020 the airline announced plans to reduce its superjumbo fleet to 12.

Now Singapore Airlines has revealed its intention to take some of its A380s back to the sky.

Govindasamy said Singapore Airlines recognizes the A380’s enduring appeal to passengers, and that’s partly why the airline is getting the plane back into rotation.

“The A380 is a wonderful aircraft,” he said. “Some people book the A380 specifically to fly over it.”

Govindasamy added that it makes economic sense to put the A380 back on the London-Singapore route, as the plane’s seat density lends itself well to routes where airport slots are limited.

The decision is also part of Singapore Airlines’ “premium positioning”, as Govindasamy says.

“From a brand perspective, the A380 really has a lot of satisfaction for us running it,” he said.

Regarding the re-establishment of the A380 for destinations beyond London, Govindasamy said that Singapore Airlines is currently evaluating other routes that could be well served by the superjumbo.

“We will continue to monitor it very closely over the next two weeks and months before making this decision,” he said, adding that the return of the A380 on its original Singapore to Sydney route is something the airline “won’t say no to. “. “

Nine of Singapore Airlines’ A380s have undergone a refit and three are undergoing restyling. Travelers splashing around in first class on the restored London to Singapore route will enjoy the airline’s snobbish suites.

Choice of route: London to Singapore – Be one of the first to experience the return of Singapore Airlines’ A380s

British Airways

British Airways' A380s are returning to the skies this year.

British Airways’ A380s are returning to the skies this year.

Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

After months of restrictions on transatlantic travel, the US / UK travel corridor is expected to reopen in November and BA is increasing its flight schedule accordingly.

Travelers will be able to enjoy the comfortable interior of the plane en route to Los Angeles and Miami this winter, as well as the cruise from London to Dubai in December.

But before the superjumbos take British travelers on long-awaited trips to the United States, they will cross the Channel on some short-haul flights “to allow crew familiarization,” according to a BA statement.

It’s not every day that you travel from London to Europe on a double-decker plane, so avgeeks will be desperate to secure a seat on these one-off flights.

Trying to book on these routes for now is a guess, as BA has yet to confirm which short haul flights will operate the A380.

Choice of route: London to Los Angeles: the perfect winter vacation and what a great way to get back to transatlantic travel

United Arab Emirates

Emirates is the largest A380 operator.

Emirates is the largest A380 operator.

Massimo Insabato / Massimo Insabato Archive / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The largest operator of the A380 is Emirates. When Emirates’ latest superjumbo joins its fleet later this year, the Dubai-based airline will host 118 A380s.

The airline announced in September 2021 that it plans to deploy the A380 in 27 cities by the end of November 2021. Travelers will be able to travel aboard the Emirates A380 to destinations including Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Zurich.

There are elegant lounges and private suites aboard Emirates A380s, and premium travelers can even shower on board thanks to the A380’s Shower Spa.

The route to watch is from Dubai to Auckland: the size and comfort of the Airbus A380 make it ideal for long-haul travel and, before the pandemic, Dubai to Auckland was the longest non-stop route in the world. ‘Airbus A380. Emirates planes travel 14,193 kilometers on this 10-hour journey.

Choice of route: Dubai to Istanbul: a first for the A380 and an opportunity to return to a superjumbo this year.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is set to restore superjumbo to its program this winter.

Qatar Airways is set to restore superjumbo to its program this winter.

Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

This statement has left many worried about the future of superjumbo at Qatar Airways, but with the rise in international travel, the landscape appears to be changing.

According to the airline’s online schedule, Qatar Airways plans to operate A380s between Doha and London Heathrow and Doha and Paris Charles de Gaulle, starting December 2021.

A spokesperson for Qatar Airways declined to comment on the A380’s return to service and the airline’s future plans for the plane.

Route choice: Doha to Paris – the A380s have been assembled in France, so getting back to a superjumbo where it all started feels appropriate

Qantas

Qantas is set to operate the A380 on its Sydney to Los Angeles route from July 2022

Qantas is set to operate the A380 on its Sydney to Los Angeles route from July 2022

Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

Qantas has 12 A380s in its fleet and was not originally expected to return to service until 2023. However, in August 2021, the Australian airline confirmed that five of its A380s would resume flying earlier than expected.

The Superjumbo will operate on Qantas’ Sydney-Los Angeles route from July 2022 and from November 2022 are expected to cross between Sydney and London via Singapore.

“The A380s perform well on these long-haul routes when there is sufficient demand and the high vaccination rates in both markets would support it,” a Qantas statement read.

While two of Qantas’ A380s will be retired, the remaining 10 are all expected to be back in service with new interiors by early 2024, according to the airline’s statement that timing is “dependent on how quickly the market picks up.”

Announcing the return of the A380 in 2022, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the decision was made because the UK and US were “key markets for Qantas” before the pandemic and appear to be recovering well.

“We expect travel demand on these routes to be strong enough for the A380,” he added.

“The A380 is a great aircraft that our passengers love. The 10 aircraft we will be bringing back will have completely new interiors and we expect them to be part of our fleet for many years to come,” Joyce said.

Choice of itinerary: Los Angeles to Sydney – back to Australia in style

Korean air

Korean Air is currently operating an A380 service between Incheon and Guangzhou.

Korean Air is currently operating an A380 service between Incheon and Guangzhou.

Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prior to the pandemic, Korean Air’s 10 A380s were “primarily used on long-haul routes with high traffic volume,” a Korean Air spokesperson told CNN Travel.

While Korean Air’s A380s are not currently flying to New York’s JFK or Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, two of the plane’s former haunts, the Korean Air spokesperson confirmed that the airline is currently operating the A380. from Incheon to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport of China once a week.

Guangzhou is also a hub for China Southern Airlines, which has five A380s. The Chinese airline is currently flying superjumbo between Melbourne and Guangzhou weekly, as well as on some flights to and from Los Angeles, according to FlightAware.com.

Korean Air is in the midst of merging with Asiana Airlines, an airline with six of its own A380s.

The Korean Air spokesperson told CNN Travel a recent interview with FlightGlobal in which Korean Air president Walter Cho said that “the A380s will leave Korean Air’s fleet within five years.”

The days of Korean Air’s A380s may be numbered, but for now they are still in circulation.

Choice of route: Incheon to Guangzhou – Experience Korean Air’s A380s while you can

All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways A380s are brightly decorated to resemble Hawaiian sea turtles

All Nippon Airways A380s are brightly decorated to resemble Hawaiian sea turtles

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) premiered its first A380 in 2019. Another superjumbo followed a couple of months later and from 16 October ANA will have three A380s in its fleet when a third “Flying Honu” will join its line-up.

All Nippon Airways’ A380s are perhaps the world’s most distinctive superjumbo, each painted in bright hues to resemble Hawaiian sea turtles, a nod to their flight route from Tokyo Narita, Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii. “Honu” is a term used for sea turtles in Hawaii.

An All Nippon Airways spokesperson told CNN Travel that while its A380s are not currently flying to Hawaii on a regular basis – there is a Boeing 747 making that route right now – the airline is “looking for opportunities to fly. fly the A380 over the Narita “. – Route Honolulu on limited peak season days. “In August, an All Nippon Airways A380 flew from Narita to Honolulu on two return flights.

ANA’s A380s also operated domestic charter flights – so-called “flights to nowhere” – and were used as pop-up restaurants.

ANA told CNN Travel that it is “closely monitoring demand as well as immigration guidelines and public health measures implemented by the respective government” in order to determine when the A380 can return on a more regular basis.

Route Choice: Tokyo to Honolulu – keep an eye out for any announcements and head to Hawaii on the liveliest A380 around

Top image credit: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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