Lufthansa may park Airbus A380s as coronavirus impact worsens

Mar 6, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Lufthansa may park its fleet of Airbus A380s in what would be a superjumbo symbol of how badly fears of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak are hitting travel demand.

The Star Alliance carrier is “examining” temporarily removing its 14 A380s from service if the demand environment continues to worsen, Lufthansa said Friday. The move would come as the airline and its sister carriers — Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss International Air Lines — plan to slash global capacity in half in the coming weeks.

Lufthansa called the slump in demand around fears of COVID-19 “exceptional circumstances” and said the capacity cuts aim to “reduce the financial consequences.”

The airline has not said what destinations and routes will be impacted by the planned cuts.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news

Lufthansa is not the first airline to say it may park jets in response to the COVID-19 virus. Delta Air Lines has indicated that it could retire its fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and MD-90s up to two years early in response to weakening travel demand.

Airlines like Cathay Pacific Airways, whose Hong Kong hub is near the epicenter of the outbreak, has already parked dozens of wide-body jets amid broad cuts to its global schedule.

Related: Coronavirus flight waivers and changes

Lufthansa flies the A380 from its hubs in Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC). Prior to the spread of COVID-19 to Europe in late February, the airline flew the jets to Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA) and San Francisco (SFO) plus four more cities around the world, according to Cirium schedule data.

The impact on bookings from COVID-19 in the U.S. is just beginning to take its toll, airline executives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit on Thursday sad. At least two senior airline leaders likened the drop in bookings to what they saw after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

“This isn’t economic in that people who want to travel can’t,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly at the summit. “We could discount prices and it wouldn’t do any good.”

Related: US airline execs warn coronavirus impact ‘could be worse than 9/11’ downturn

JetBlue Airways and United Airlines have already trimmed domestic schedules. The CEOs of both Alaska Airlines and Southwest have warned that they may make cuts if bookings continue to plummet.

“We expect all airlines to make meaningful adjustments to their network given what is happening to demand,” wrote Cowen aviation analyst Helane Becker in a report Friday. On top of parking older aircraft, she expects flight numbers to be trimmed and planned international seasonal routes to be cut.

Featured image by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.