Air France-KLM Accelerates Airbus A380 Retirements

 - May 20, 2020, 11:59 AM
Air France became the first European A380 operator in 2009. (Photo: Airbus)

Air France-KLM will retire its fleet of Airbus A380s, ending any uncertainty over the superjumbo’s return to service following the Covid-19 crisis, the group said Wednesday. Initially scheduled by the end of 2022, the airline's accelerated retirement of the A380 fleet marks the latest blow for the Airbus superjumbo’s prospects at a time the four-engine jet has already fallen out of favor among several operators due to its challenging economics. The move fits with a fleet simplification strategy announced last November, Air France-KLM said.

Air France owns or finance leases five of the Airbus A380 aircraft in its fleet, while four remain on operating lease. The group estimates the move will require a write-down of €500 million ($547 million), which it plans to book in the second quarter of this year.  

Air France-KLM said it would replace the A380s with new-generation aircraft, including Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, several of which will arrive at the airlines once deliveries resume in full.