British Airways’ parent company IAG has hinted that the Airbus A380 could return to the skies. The remark was made in a presentation of the group’s second-quarter results to investors earlier today.
Earlier this month, British Airways announced that it was the end of the road for its Boeing 747 fleet. As four-engined aircraft collapse in popularity around the world, some had concerns for the British flag carrier’s remaining double-decker aircraft. However, IAG today hinted that the majority of the fleet might return to the skies sooner rather than later as demand slowly picks up.
Four Airbus A380s grounded?
The International Airlines Group quarterly results are always a treasure trove of interesting news. Earlier today, Simple Flying reported that British Airways’ London City to New York services would be terminated as the airline’s Airbus A318 was to be retired. However, in the same section, the group also talked about its Airbus A380s.
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The whole IAG business is currently right-sizing itself for the future by managing its resources. This has seen changes being made to each airline’s network, fleet, and people. While detailing what changes are coming to the British Airways fleet, the group pointed out:
“Temporary grounding of 4 A380s and up to 6 777s”
Eight A380s to return to the skies?
British Airways has a fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. If four are to be temporarily grounded, this suggests that the other eight are due to return to the skies. The majority of the British Airways Airbus A380 fleet is currently stored in Chateauroux, France.
Except for G-XELH, which is currently in Manila for heavy maintenance, the entire British Airways A380 fleet is being parked on a taxiway at the French Airport. One of the aircraft even damaged the taxiway when it first arrived. This was due to its weight tied with a marshaling error.
However, recently we have seen a flurry of Airbus A380 related activity from British Airways. In the last two weeks, half of the fleet has flown back to the airline’s London Heathrow home to undergo periodic maintenance.
The fact that British Airways is continually maintaining its fleet of Airbus A380s is mostly a good sign for the type’s future. After all, with IAG looking to right-size its fleet, the last thing it would want to do is spend a fortune on maintenance for aircraft if there was a possibility that they would leave the fleet.
While the Airbus A380 hasn’t blown some airlines away, it has been useful to the British Flag carrier. During regular times, airports such as Heathrow are heavily slot contained. The A380 allowed the airline to condense a route with two smaller aircraft, opening a slot for a new route.
Have you missed British Airways’ Airbus A380s? When do you think we’ll see them return to the skies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!