Air France retires Airbus A380 fleet with immediate effect

Air France Airbus A380. Photo: © Maarten Visser

French flag carrier Air France has announced on Wednesday afternoon that it will retire its nine strong Airbus A380 fleet with immediate effect.

The airline’s fleet of superjumbos was initially set to be retired in 2022, but in light of the Coronavirus crisis, the Air France-KLM Group has decided that it will bring this forward. The company owns five of its A380’s with the other four on lease. Most of the fleet has been grounded since March and April, as lack of passenger demand for air travel has meant that it has not been economical to operate the type.

Air France says “the phase-out of Airbus A380 fleet fits in the Air France-KLM Group fleet simplification strategy of making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint.

The airline received its first A380 in October 2009 and it’s most recent delivery was in June 2014, making the youngest aircraft in the fleet a mere six years old. Air France’s Airbus A380 fleet will be replaced by smaller long-haul aircraft, including Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the carrier says.