Air France will make the last flight with an Airbus A380 on Friday. The melancholic farewell comes in advance of the airline’s already announced intention to dispose of its fleet of ten units.
By dropping passenger demand, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated planning that already provided for the aircraft to be retired from service. The final trip of the A380 will take on board Air France-KLM Group CEO Ben Smith and Air France CEO Anne Rigail as well as guests.
Air France named the flight AF380 and will use the F-HPJH registration aircraft that was produced by Airbus only eight years ago and has 516 seats in three classes of service.
The farewell event schedule provides for the plane to depart from Charles de Gaulle airport at 3:30 pm (local time) and a two-hour flight through France’s airspace that includes a low pass through Paris before landing at the same airport at 5:45 pm.
Air France was the first airline in Europe to fly the A380 and received ten aircraft between 2009 and 2014. Last year, however, the airline decided to withdraw them from service due to the high cost of operation. The original plan, however, predicted that the last plane would be retired only in 2022.
In early 2020, the first aircraft was sent to Ireland, already without the company’s livery. Currently, most of the jets are stored in places like Tarbes and Teruel. Of the 10 planes, five are from Air France itself and five are leased.
Airbus had delivered 242 A380 jets by the end of 2019 and has only nine pending units – one for All Nippon Airways and the others for Emirates, but there are doubts that the UAE airline will actually receive them.