Several Airlines Ground A380s To Cut Back Capacity

Korean Air Airbus A380
Credit: Rob Finlayson

WASHINGTON—Around 25% of the worldwide Airbus A380 fleet is in the process of being grounded as airlines cut their largest widebodies from services dealing with the fall-out of the coronavirus crisis.

Korean Air has become the latest carrier to decide that it will take its 10 A380s out of service until Apr. 25, citing reduced travel demand. Other aircraft have also been grounded. South Korea has been among the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, causing many governments to impose restrictions on travelers from Korea. Korean Air has suspended over 130 flights according to its latest update, with frequency reduced on others.

There are currently 240 A380s in active service, according to the latest Airbus figures. In addition to Korean, Qantas has announced that it will put eight of its twelve A380s on the ground; of the remaining four, two aircraft are in heavy maintenance; the other two will continue to fly. Lufthansa is close to deciding the immediate future of its 14 A380s but has indicated that it is considering taking them out of service. China Southern is not currently operating its five A380s; Flightradar24 recorded the airline’s last A380 commercial flight on Feb. 12.

Emirates confirmed that it parked some A380s as it was forced to reduce and stop flights to China, but the company did not reveal how many of the aircraft were affected.

Other airlines continue to operate their A380 fleets for now. Among them are Air France (operating nine) and British Airways (12), Etihad and Qatar Airways (each with ten aircraft). Asiana flew two of its six A380s on Mar. 11, according to Flightradar24 data, to Frankfurt and Los Angeles. 

Jens Flottau

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.