After 11 years, Air France has officially withdrawn its Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world. The last flight took place on Friday. The machines have been grounded due to excessive operating costs.
It was certainly a depressing sight for all lovers of the largest passenger aircraft in the world. On Friday at 15.37 A380 took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in its farewell flight in the colors of Air France. The machine flew south of the country and after 2 hours and 22 minutes landed back in the capital. Only Air France employees were on board.
The last commercial A380 flight took place on March 23 between Johannesburg and Paris. In total, Air France has served almost 40,000 for 11 years. flights with their A380 aircraft and carried 18 million passengers. There were 10 machines of this type in the carrier’s fleet.
The main directions served by the A380 were: New York, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Hong Kong, Miami, Tokyo and Montreal.
The decision to withdraw the aircraft was made at the end of May this year. “In view of the crisis caused by COVID-19 and its impact on the expected transport activity, the Air France-KLM group informs about the complete suspension of the operation of Airbus A380 belonging to Air France” – said the announcement.
Too high costs
Already in July 2019, the group reported that due to too high operating costs, including too high fuel consumption, as well as an extremely high level of environmental pollution, the Airbus A380 will be phased out by the end of 2022.
The decision was motivated by the fact that this huge double-deck aircraft consumes 20-25 percent. more fuel per passenger seat than other new-generation long-haul aircraft, and also emits more carbon dioxide.
A380 aircraft are to be replaced by smaller new generation machines, among others A350 and Boeing 787.
Earlier, in February, Airbus announced that it was suspending production of the A380 machines due to their low profitability. Airplanes of this type entered service in 2007.
It is estimated that the Air France-KLM group lost in the first quarter of this year. due to a pandemic caused by the coronavirus and the associated suspension of air transport, approximately EUR 1.8 billion net. The outlook for the coming months is also not optimistic.
The Airbus A380 is a two-tier (double-deck) and wide-body, four-engine airliner. Due to the fact that the upper deck extends the entire length of the hull, the A380-800 can take 555 passengers divided into three classes or even 853 after adapting it to the economy class standard.
In this respect, the A380 is ahead of the second-generation Boeing 747-8 on the list, the latest generation Jumbo Jet, which can take between 366 and 568 passengers.
Due to its impressive size, the A380 is often called “Superjumbo” or “Big Bird”.
Source of main photo: Shutterstock