Airbus A380: where to fly in a superjumbo when returning from aviation

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(CNN) – When Airbus announced plans to stop production of its A380 aircraft in 2019, heartbroken aviation fans took comfort in the fact that the superjumbo was not about to stop flying from so early.

Production of this popular aircraft was to continue for a few more years, and many airlines had A380s active in their fleets.

But fast-forwarding a year, and the A380’s towering size and high operating costs had no place in the pandemic’s minimal and profitable international flight schedules.

Thanks to Covid-19, most of the global A380 fleet has been grounded.

Lufthansa’s decision to park its A380 turned into a German carrier permanently withdrawing superjumbos. The last A380 in Air France colors has made its last flight. It was increasingly difficult to know if the A380 would survive the shutdown.

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

If you’re still hoping to experience the A380’s spacious and memorable interior and a quiet flying experience before the airplane is a thing of the past, here’s our roundup of A380 air routes to check out.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has 12 A380s in its fleet.

Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty Images

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

Before the pandemic, Singapore Airlines had 17 A380s. They were all grounded when Covid-19 hit, and in November 2020 the airline announced plans to cut its superjumbo fleet to 12.

Now, Singapore Airlines has revealed plans to return some of its A380s to the skies.

Siva Govindasamy, head of global public affairs for Singapore Airlines, said Singapore Airlines recognizes the A380’s enduring appeal to passengers, and that’s part of why the airline is putting the plane back into rotation.

“The A380 is a wonderful aircraft,” he said. “Some people just reserve the A380 specifically to fly on it.”

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

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

“From a brand perspective, the A380 really ticks a lot of the boxes for us who operate it,” he said.

As for re-establishing the A380 for destinations beyond London, Govindasamy said Singapore Airlines is currently considering other routes that could be well served by the superjumbo.

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

Nine of Singapore Airlines’ A380s have undergone refurbishment and three are under refurbishment. Travelers setting off in first class on the re-established route from London to Singapore will enjoy the airline’s chic suites.

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

British Airways

British Airways A380s return to the skies this year.

British Airways A380s return to the skies this year.

Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

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

But before the superjumbos transport British travelers to the United States for long-awaited escapades, they will first cross the Channel on some short-haul flights “to allow the crew to familiarize themselves,” according to a statement from BA.

It’s not everyday that you fly from London to Europe in a double-decker plane, so the avgeeks will desperately try to reserve seats on these one-off flights.

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

Itinerary of choice: London to Los Angeles – the perfect winter vacation, and what a way to get back to the transatlantic journey

Emirates

Emirates is the largest operator of the A380.

Emirates is the largest operator of the A380.

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

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

The airline announced in September 2021 its intention to deploy the A380 in 27 cities by the end of November 2021. Travelers will be able to travel on the Emirates A380 to destinations such as Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Zurich.

Onboard Emirates A380s are chic lounges and private suites, and premium travelers can even shower on board with the A380’s shower spa.

The route to follow is from Dubai to Auckland – the size and comfort of the Airbus A380 makes it ideal for long-haul travel, and before the pandemic, Dubai to Auckland was the longest non-stop route for the Airbus A380 . Emirates planes cover 14,193 kilometers on the 10-hour journey.

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

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is preparing to reinstate the superjumbo in its program this winter.

Qatar Airways is preparing to reinstate the superjumbo in its program this winter.

Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The statement has left many worried about the future of the superjumbo at Qatar Airways, but as international travel increases, 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, from December 2021.

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

Route of choice: Doha to Paris – the A380s were assembled in France, so it seems appropriate to revisit a superjumbo where it all began

Qantas

Qantas to operate A380s on its Sydney-Los Angeles route from July 2022

Qantas to operate A380s on its Sydney-Los Angeles route from July 2022

Brendon Thorne / Getty Images

Qantas has 12 A380s in its fleet, and they were initially not scheduled to resume service until 2023. However, in August 2021, the Australian airline confirmed that five of its A380s will resume flying earlier than expected.

The superjumbos are expected to operate Qantas’ Sydney-Los Angeles route from July 2022, and from November 2022, they are expected to travel between Sydney and London via Singapore.

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

While two of Qantas’ A380s are expected to be retired, the other 10 are all expected to return to service with newly upgraded interiors by early 2024, according to the airline’s statement, which said the timing would depend “on how fast with which the market is recovering “.

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 seem to be recovering well.

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

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

Choice route: Los Angeles to Sydney – return to Australia in style

Korean Air

Korean Air currently operates an A380 service between Incheon and Guangzhou.

Korean Air currently operates an A380 service between Incheon and Guangzhou.

Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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

While Korean Air’s A380s currently do not fly to JFK Airport in New York or Charles de Gaulle in Paris, two of the aircraft’s former haunts, the Korean Air spokesperson confirmed that the airline is currently operating the A380 from Incheon to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China. one week.

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

Korean Air is in the process of merging with Asiana Airlines, an airline that itself owns six A380s.

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

The days of Korean Air’s A380 may be numbered, but they are still here for now.

Your choice of route: From Incheon to Guangzhou – experience Korean Air’s A380s while you can

All Nippon Airlines

All Nippon Airways A380s sport bright colors to resemble Hawaiian sea turtles

All Nippon Airways A380s sport bright colors to resemble Hawaiian sea turtles

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) launched its first A380 in 2019. Another superjumbo followed a few months later, and from October 16, ANA will have three A380s in its fleet when a third “Flying Honu” will join its range.

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

A spokesperson for All Nippon Airways told CNN Travel that although its A380s do not fly regularly to Hawaii – a Boeing 747 currently flies this route – the airline “is looking for opportunities to fly the A380 on the Narita – Honolulu Highway on high season days limited. ” In August, an All Nippon Airways A380 made two round trips between Narita and Honolulu.

ANA’s A380s also performed domestic charter flights – “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” to determine when the A380 can return on a more regular basis.

Choice route: Tokyo to Honolulu – keep an eye out for announcements and head to Hawaii in the most jazzy A380 around

Best Image Credit: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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