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Lufthansa is considering reactivating the A380

Frankfurt The rumor alone is causing a stir in the aviation industry: Is the giant Airbus A380 returning to Lufthansa? There has been speculation for months, but now it’s not just specialist portals like Aero.de earlier this week writing about corresponding considerations about “Hansa”. There are also reports from the company’s pilot circles that the topic is being discussed at the executive level.

Lufthansa makes no official statements and refers to statements made by CEO Carsten Spohr a few weeks ago. Spohr explained that if demand was very strong, Lufthansa might consider bringing back some A380s. But he added: “I wouldn’t count on this option.”

One thing is certain, however: contrary to what was announced during the pandemic, the return of the double decker is no longer to be completely excluded. Indeed, there is a lot to be said about this idea, but there are also obstacles.

The current rush to airline tickets speaks in favor of reactivation. In the Lufthansa configuration, the A380 can carry up to 519 passengers. This would make the giant aircraft ideal for those particularly in demand routes. For example, Lufthansa used a Boeing 747 on flights to Mallorca at Easter to meet demand. Some routes to the United States are currently very well booked as well.

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Also, the A380 may not be a success story. Late last year, Airbus delivered the last one to Emirates. As no new jets have been ordered in recent years, production has ceased. But the double decker is not “dead” for this. Emirates continues to rely on him. It will also remain in service with British Airways. Major airports still have the necessary infrastructure, such as double-decker passenger decks.

The super jumbo is far from history

However, the issue with the greatest weight is the structure of the “Hansa” fleet. During the pandemic, Lufthansa management decided to significantly reduce the number of so-called four-engine jets. The A380 is expected to be eliminated, but the Boeing 747-8 is expected to remain.

Instead, the group wants to use twin-engine aircraft on long-haul routes, which are considered more efficient. In addition, they can be used more optimally because they are slightly smaller. It is easier to continually find enough passengers for them. That’s why the airline group opted for the Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) and Boeing 777-X in addition to the A350.

The problem: the US aviation group can’t deliver. With the Dreamliner, the US Air Force Authority FAA wants to accept every single aircraft. The background for this is Boeing’s serious failures in the terrible crash of two Boeing 737 Maxs. The 777-X, in turn, was supposed to be delivered with a delay in 2023, but it is now clear that it will take even longer.

>>Read this: Major bottlenecks due to aviation shortage: Airlines expect further flight cancellations

Lufthansa has two options to fill these gaps. First, management can access aircraft that other airlines no longer accept. For example, the Boeing 777-300ERs are under discussion here. The aircraft manufacturer could therefore alleviate the frustration of the Lufthansa customer for the time being. Used planes are also an option.

Or you can use your own planes which should no longer fly. This includes CEO Spohr especially the Airbus 340-300 and the Airbus 340-600. “This is our buffer,” Spohr says. It cannot be ruled out that the A380 will soon join them. Although Lufthansa has already returned six superjumbos to Airbus, the group still has access to eight.

A reactivation of the A380 would be a major hassle

However, there are major obstacles. To begin with, the A380 would do little to solve major aviation problems caused by shortages in the short term. Even though the double-decker bus can carry more than 500 people at one time, they should be tried. But this is where the problem lies right now.

In any case, it would take a long time for an A380 to return to regular flying. The jets are “permanently parked”. All measures are designed for the long-term preservation of the aircraft. It will likely take up to twelve weeks to get the A380 back into operation. The costs are consequently high. Lufthansa does not come out with an exact number. The pilots should also be trained again first, the A380 has not been used in “Hansa” for months.

Is the Airbus A380 part of the Lufthansa fleet again next year?

When it comes to getting the double decker back into the fleet, it is more likely to be used in the next year. Nobody knows what air traffic will be like then. The current travel boom will be partly a catch-up effect. How long it lasts is unclear. So the effort required to “unhook” the A380 must be carefully considered.

If the big ship were to experience a renaissance in Lufthansa anyway, it would be a celebration for many aviation enthusiasts. CEO Spohr also says of himself that he “would be the happiest man” if that happened. The two-story is considered extremely comfortable, offers space even in the Eco class and is extremely quiet on the road. And it’s the latest major innovation in commercial aviation.

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