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Lufthansa may retire Airbus A380, other jumbo jets in fleet overhaul, report says

Sept. 10, 2020
3 min read
Lufthansa may retire Airbus A380, other jumbo jets in fleet overhaul, report says
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There may be another nail in the coffin of the Airbus A380. That comes with the news that Lufthansa may retire its fleet of the superjumbo jets as part of its coronavirus pandemic-driven restructuring.

The Frankfurt-based Star Alliance carrier is considering retiring its all of its A380s and Boeing 747-400s, plus many of its Airbus A340s, according to Bloomberg, which cites unnamed people familiar with the restructuring proposal. The removals would be in addition to the company's previous plans to retire 100 aircraft across the Lufthansa Group airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS.

As of the end of June, the group flew eight A380s, 43 A340s and 27 747s though the latter includes both 747-400s and 747-8s. However, many of these planes are already temporarily parked, including all of the A380s.

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The A380 is among the planes hardest hit by COVID-19. Designed for high-demand routes to busy airports, the jets have proved far too much plane for the historically low passenger numbers during the pandemic. Nearly every operator parked their jets early on with many evaluating the future of the superjumbo in their fleets long term.

Since the pandemic began, Air France has retired its A380s while the likes of British Airways and Qantas Airways have put their planes in long-term storage.

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Lufthansa has already retired six A380s leaving it with just the eight it has in storage. It has also retired five 747-400s.

Related: Lufthansa grounds Germanwings subsidiary, retires some A380s and 747s

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines globally, does not expect air travel to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Long-haul international flying where the A380 shone is expected to return slower than short-haul trips.

COVID-19 is not the only threat to the A380. The plane was already something of a white elephant for Airbus due to its size and lackluster sales. In February, the French planemaker decided to end production of the superjumbo following a final delivery to Emirates in 2021.

A Lufthansa spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Related: Air France operates its final A380 flight

Featured image by (Photo by Ryan Patterson for The Points Guy)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023