Where Are All The Airbus A380 Aircraft?

Having previously looked at where all the Boeing 747 aircraft are these days, I figured I would look at something a little less common. Believe it or not, there are far less Airbus A380 aircraft in service around the world than there are Boeing 747’s.

And with the European manufacturer announcing in 2019 that they would cease to produce the super jumbo once the order book is complete, the number will only grow by a couple.

In fact, so tough are the market conditions, that the first early build Airbus A380 have already been scrapped.

Whilst it might be a stretch seeing how many Airbus A380 Emirates have in service, I suppose it might not be out of the question that the Boeing 747 could still be in the skies after the A380 has disappeared. The likes of Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China have relatively young fleets of the latest Boeing 747-8i aircraft. Younger than a number of A380 in service.

With Air France and Qatar Airways making a formal announcement as to when the Airbus A380 will leave their fleet, by the end of the decade the numbers will be a lot lower.

Despite this, its not all bad news. I mentioned already that Emirates have a massive fleet in service. It’s also no secret that British Airways are very pleased with their A380. Whilst the airline ultimately didn’t order any new builds when it had the chance, parent group IAG made it clear that they were taking a strong look. It was the cost that eventually put them off however. It might not be completely out of the question for the airline to acquire a few second hand models once they come on to the market in the middle of the decade.

The Ones That Didn’t Quite Make It

While the Airbus A380 is in service with a number of airlines around the world, there could have been a few more that operated it.

Most notably was Virgin Atlantic. The British carrier was among one of the first airlines to order the A380 in 2000. However the airline constantly deferred its order for 6 aircraft before they were finally cancelled in 2018.

Both FedEx and UPS had orders for a freight version of the Airbus A380. However, this variant never made it off the drawing board.

Indian Airline Kingfisher had orders for the A380 too. However, they slipped into bankruptcy before they were able to take delivery of the type. It was a similar story for Russia’s TransAero, who had 4 on order.

Air Austral placed an order for a pair of Airbus A380 in 2009, however that order was cancelled just three years later.

Japanese low cost carrier Skymark placed an order for 6 Airbus A380 back in 2011. However, shortly after the airlines finances took a nose dive and Airbus formally cancelled their order in 2014.

Hong Kong Airlines had 10 Airbus A380 on order. However, just a year later, the airline had cancelled their order.

The above is just the airlines that have ordered the type. A number of leasing companies also ordered the aircraft, then subsequently cancelled.

By the time production of the Airbus A380 ceases in 2021, 251 aircraft would have been produced.

All data below is correct as of 1 January 2020

Emirates (Dubai)

Number In Service: 115 + 8 On Order
Entry Into Service: 2008
Typical Routes: Far too many to list! Typically found flying from Dubai to London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok, Hong Kong and most Emirates destinations in the USA.
Notes: By far the largest A380 operator out there. It has been said that the reason why Airbus have discontinued the Airbus A380 is because they couldn’t sell any more to Emirates.

Emirates Airbus A380

Singapore Airlines (Singapore)

Number In Service: 19 (+5 retired)
Entry Into Service: 2017
Typical Routes: London Heathrow, Sydney, Zurich, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, New York, Auckland, Delhi, Melbourne, Tokyo, Paris, Mumbai, Shanghai.
Notes:  Singapore Airlines was the launch customer for the Airbus A380 back in 2007. Over the years it has kept the number in its fleet consistent at 19. Whilst 5 of the early deliveries have since been retired from the fleet, the airline replaced them one for one with new builds in the late 2010’s.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380

Lufthansa (Frankfurt/Munich)

Number In Service: 14
Entry Into Service: 2010
Typical Routes: Frankfurt-> Singapore, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Shanghai, Seoul, Houston.
Munich-> Miami, San Francisco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Los Angeles.
Notes: Europes largest Airbus A380 operator. One of the earlier A380 operators, although it’s unlikely that the type will leave the Lufthansa fleet any time soon.

Lufthansa Airbus A380

British Airways (London Heathrow)

Number In Service: 12
Entry Into Service: 2013
Typical Routes: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Johannesburg, Singapore, Hong Kong. Seasonal flights to Washington, Vancouver, Miami, Chicago and Boston.
Notes: All 12 of British Airways A380 aircraft were delivered in a 3 year period between 2013 and 2016. Initially the airline used them on the London – Frankfurt flights before deploying them on the London – Los Angeles route. It was recently announced that British Airways would send their A380 to Las Vegas in January 2020.

British Airways Airbus A380

Qantas (Sydney/Melbourne)

Number In Service: 12
Entry Into Service: 2008
Typical Routes: Sydney-> Dallas, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Singapore.
Melbourne-> Dubai, Los Angeles, Singapore.
Notes: Qantas were to be the worlds second largest Airbus A380 operator initially. However, it was announced in the late 2010’s that the airline had cancelled the final 8 aircraft that were due for delivery.

Air France (Paris CDG)

Number In Service: 9 (+1 Retired)
Entry Into Service: 2010
Typical Routes: Atlanta, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Washington
Notes: The first European operator of the Airbus A380. Air France recently stated that the type will leave its fleet by 2022. The first of which, F-HPJB has already left. Air France operated the shortest scheduled Airbus A380 flight over the summer 2010 when it flew the type on its Paris-London route.

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi)

Number In Service: 10
Entry Into Service: 2014
Typical Routes: London, New York, Paris, Seoul, Sydney
Notes: Probably the most luxurious A380’s out there! The Etihad example features the residence, consisting of a living room, bedroom and private bathroom at the front of the upper deck.

Korean Air (Seoul ICN)

Number In Service: 10
Entry Into Service: 2011
Typical Routes: London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Sydney, Taipei
Notes: It was rumoured back in 2017 that Korean Air would begin to retire its A380 fleet. However, that never happened as all 10 currently remain in service. Korean Air have just 407 seats on their A380’s, meaning they’re the most sparsely configured A380’s out there.

Qatar Airways (Doha)

Number In Service: 10
Entry Into Service: 2014
Typical Routes: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth
Notes: Its surprising how Qatar Airways only operates a relatively modest fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft. Given the airlines reputation of being one of the best out there, you’d think they would have seen it as an opportunity to go a bit over the top. Instead, the Qatar A380 features a first class cabin, a bar but that’s the only real difference to the rest of the fleet. The entire Qatar Airways fleet of A380’s will be gone by 2024, at which point the oldest member of the fleet will only be 10 years old.

Asiana Airlines (Seoul ICN)

Number In Service: 6
Entry Into Service: 2014
Typical Routes: Bangkok, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo.
Notes: The second Seoul based airline to operate the A380. Whilst only having six aircraft, Asiana uses the fleet well to serve premium long haul destinations, along with some shorter flights slotted in between the long haul missions.

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur KUL)

Number In Service: 6
Entry Into Service: 2012
Typical Routes: Medina, Jeddah, Tokyo
Notes: How the mighty have fallen! When I flew on the Malaysia Airlines A380 in 2013, they were very much the pride and joy of the airline. Then the issues in 2014 happened. Since then, the airline has all but pulled out of Europe. On the one remaining service to London, the Airbus A350 has taken over. Therefore the 6 A380 that the airline has stick to just the three routes.

Thai Airways (Bangkok BKK)

Number In Service: 6
Entry Into Service: 2012
Typical Routes: Frankfurt, London, Osaka, Tokyo
Notes: I was told by a Thai friend many years ago that the reason for Thai Airways diverse fleet is down to diplomatic reasons. The country wants to remain on good terms with both Europe and the United States. How true this is, I don’t know. But with a fleet of entirely widebody long haul aircraft, you cant help but wonder how much the airline actually needs their Airbus A380.

China Southern Airlines (Beijing/Guangzhou)

Number In Service: 5
Entry Into Service: 2011
Typical Routes: Beijing -> Guangzhou
Guangzhou-> Los Angeles
Notes: The only Chinese operator of the Airbus A380. Which comes as a bit of a surprise, seeing how many major airlines the country has. Although I cant help but think that with such a small number in service, its a bit of a vanity project for the airline. Currently the only airline to use the A380 on domestic routes. China Southern will use the Airbus A380 on flights between Beijing and London from June 2020.

All Nippon Airlines (Tokyo Narita)

Number In Service: 2 (+1 on Order)
Entry Into Service: 2019
Typical Routes: Tokyo – Honolulu
Notes: The final customer for the Airbus A380. And the Japanese airline will operate three of the newest A380’s in the sky when their third example is delivered in 2020. Each one of their aircraft wears a unique livery.

HiFly (Lisbon)

Number In Service: 1
Entry Into Service: 2018
Typical Routes: Wherever needed!
Notes: So far, HiFly are the only airline to operate a second hand Airbus A380. Taking delivery of the ex Singapore Airlines example in 2018, many thought it was a bit of an odd move to say the least. But the airline has managed to get some decent mileage out of their acquisition. Most notably when Thomas Cook collapsed and during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.


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