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Phasing out because of the coronavirus

A third of all A380 might disappear from airline fleets

The world's airlines are currently converting their fleets like never before.

Sebastian Thoma -

Parked Airbus A380 by Air France in Teruel, Spain

The global aircraft fleet is changing dramatically. Airlines are retiring large aircraft earlier than planned, not renewing leases, selling unused jets and storing hundreds of jets for the long term. Around 800 aircraft are disappearing from the world’s airports, estimates the aviation consulting firm IBA.

Lufthansa, for example, has decided to retire six Airbus A380, five Boeing 747-400 and seven A340-600 early. The group is also parking dozens of its 763 planes in Teruel, Spain, and Tarbes, France. It expects that 200 of its aircraft will still have to remain on the ground in 2022. Other airlines are doing the same. British Airways, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic have taken their Boeing 747 out of service, Air France the Airbus A380.

Unprecedented dynamics

«At the beginning of next year the fleets of airlines around the world will look very different as they concentrate on using fewer, smaller, younger, and more efficient aircraft», says IBA Director Phil Seymour. The dynamics of the aircraft market are changing like never before.

Older, fuel-guzzling models are being phased out. According to the IBA analysis, 98 percent of all McDonnell Douglas DC-9 still flying will disappear from the scene, 90 percent of the MD-88 or 41 percent of the Boeing 717. But the much younger A380 are also being hit hard. As IBA forecasts, 28 percent of all superjumbos will be floated out, returned to leasing companies or stored for the long term (see chart).

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