Airbus has decided to cease production of the superjumbo. But IAG CEO Willie Walsh still sees a case for more A380 in the British Airways fleet - if one issue can be resolved.
Airlines like Singapore and Emirates are gradually retiring their Airbus A380s. Qatar Airways will start to retire its superjumbos from 2024 onwards. The jets are now entering the second-hand market. The first – and so far only – customer for a second-hand A380 was Portuguese wet lease specialist Hi Fly. But other airlines seem to be looking at the aircraft as well.
IAG-CEO Willie Walsh can imagine expanding British Airways’ fleet with the now available used A380s. «We have 12 in the fleet at the moment and we can see justification for 18. So another six A380 for British Airways would make sense», says Walsh. If he gets them at the right price «we would definitely put thought into that», Walsh adds.
Walsh only sees one issue with the second hand superjumbos. «The cost of reconfiguring the aircraft is quite significant. So we’d have to be confident that we could do it in a sensible way.» Two years ago Walsh had talked about the A380 potentially flying for Aer Lingus or Iberia. Now he says, that the superjumbo works «principally for British Airways», because it is made for markets with high volumes and slot constraints. «For Aer Lingus, the A321 is a better Aircraft because we can get into multiple frequencies.»