Europe’s largest carrier, Lufthansa, is set to mothball its remaining fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft for at least two years after it retired 14 of its superjumbos amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Lufthansa’s remaining A380 fleet will be relocated to Munich where they will wait to fly again until 2022, providing demand picks up on popular routes, such as New York and Chicago.
But the chances of Lufthansa operating the A380 from its Frankfurt base again are “close to zero”, according to Klaus Froese, CEO of the airline’s largest hub.
“In Munich we will have to see. Planning is very difficult in these times,” Mr Froese told Bloomberg.
Airbus’ A380 has been dropped from fleets around the globe since the Covid-19 pandemic ruined travel demand.
The already expensive-to-run superjumbo was already being phased out but its demise has been accelerated with the likes of Air France retiring its A380s early.
Emirates, the world’s largest A380 operator with around 115 of the jets, is said to be reviewing its remaining orders for the aircraft and planning to retire a large portion of its current double-decker fleet.
Mr Froese said that while Lufthansa plans to use A380s again in the future, the aircraft will only return to operations if they have a role to play.
“This is no longer a question of prestige, that’s a thing of the past,” he said.
Lufthansa is due to take delivery of its first Boeing 777X’s from Q3 next year.
The carrier has already permanently withdrawn 10 A340s and five Boeing 747-400s as part of its cost cutting measures, which include reduce its entire fleet down to around 100 planes in total.