Air France Axes A380s

Air France has revealed plans to accelerate the retirement of its Airbus A380s announcing the “definitive end” to the type’s operation with the flag carrier.

Initially scheduled to be phased out by the end of 2022, the super jumbo falls within Air France-KLM Group’s fleet simplification strategy which aims to make the fleet more competitive by swapping out types for new generation aircraft.

Five examples in the current fleet are owned by the company or are on finance leases, while a further four are on operating leases. Air France-KLM says the cost of the type’s phase-out and write down is estimated at €500m and will be booked in the second quarter of 2020 as a non-current cost/expense.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Air France operated the A380 from Paris/Charles de Gaulle on flights to Atlanta, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, New York/JFK, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington/Dulles.

Air France A380
The first Airbus A380 was delivered to the flag carrier in October 2009. The airline eventually took delivery of ten examples. Air France

In December last year, the company placed a firm order for ten additional A350-900s taking its total order for the type to 38 examples. At the time, Benjamin Smith, CEO of the group said the jet will become “a core asset of the Air France fleet.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flag carrier operated four of the type the last of which was delivered in February this year.