Lufthansa has been left with just four Airbus A380s at Frankfurt International Airport following another storage-related ferry flight. D-AIMD was the latest aircraft to head to long-term storage, departing for Teruel in Spain earlier this morning.
The Airbus A380 has become like Marmite for airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some remain committed to the aircraft, keen to bring it back when demand allows. Meanwhile, others have been more skeptical, with some such as Air France totally retiring the fleet. Lufthansa is yet to condemn the giant of the skies completely. However, things are looking increasingly grim for the airline’s A380s.
This morning, D-AIMD became the latest A380 to depart from Frankfurt Airport, where Lufthansa had stored it since May 2020. According to flight data from RadarBox.com, the aircraft departed from the German airport at 09:47 this morning. The ten-year-old plane departed to the south on Runway 18 before climbing to a cruise altitude of 41,000 feet.
At the time of writing, the aircraft was passing its birthplace in Toulouse. The plane is now bound for Tarmac Aerosave’s ‘aircraft nursery’ in Teruel, Spain. With arid conditions, the location is well suited to the long-term storage of aircraft, already housing over half of the airline’s fleet. However, the weather isn’t always perfect. The plane was originally due to depart on Thursday and then Friday last week. However, these departures were delayed by poor weather in Teruel.
Two more A380s to follow
Two more Airbus A380s are set to follow D-AIMD to the Spanish storage facility in the coming months. This is to enable the airline to free up parking space at Frankfurt Airport for aircraft that it is due to fly sooner than the A380. With the aircraft having no use in the foreseeable future, it makes sense to ferry them to Teruel, where the storage will cost less.
As things stand, Lufthansa has still only permanently withdrawn six of its Airbus A380 aircraft. The remaining eight have been ‘temporarily decommissioned’. However, the future looks anything but bright of the giant of the skies as far as the German flag carrier is concerned.
The airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, has, on several occasions, indicated that the airline is generally planning for a future sans-A380. Interestingly, while the A380 fleet is on the back burner, the airline continues to operate a portion of its similarly aged Boeing 747-8 fleet. Indeed, according to an analysis by Simple Flying last week, the German flag carrier is now by far the largest operator of passenger 747s. Many airlines retired their A380 fleets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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