China Southern Airlines confirms end of flights with Airbus A380

China’s largest airline had already sent its five double-deck jets into the US desert, but only acknowledged the loss of aircraft recently

The Airbus A380 no longer officially has a Chinese customer. The country’s largest carrier, China Southern Airlines confirmed the decommissioning of its last two “Superjumbos” in its first half financial report.

China Southern was the only Chinese company to order the A380. The first of five aircraft of the type that served the company entered service on October 17, 2011.

Despite the announcement of the complete withdrawal of the giant planes, the carrier had carried out the last commercial flight with the Airbus four-engine aircraft on November 6, 2022.

Then, the aircraft were sent to Mojave, in the California desert, USA. There they are stored in the name of the company Jet Midwest and there are signs that some of them have begun to be dismantled.

The A380s are now registered in the US (Simon/CC)

Jets had 505 seats

The A380s were used by the Chinese company mainly on transpacific flights to destinations in the United States. The aircraft also served routes to Europe, Japan and Australia.

With the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company moved part of the fleet to domestic routes and repatriation flights, while some units ended up being taken to the USA.

With a very high operating cost, the A380 became an unviable aircraft in China during the worst part of the pandemic. To contain the spread of the virus, the country kept its borders closed for more than two years.

Despite the resumption of international flights to the country, demand was not enough for China Southern to keep the aircraft active.

The withdrawal of the A380s has little impact on China Southern’s long-haul fleet, although no other aircraft the company carries so many passengers – the company’s models were configured with 505 seats.

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The Chinese carrier currently has a hundred widebodies, including 10 A330-200, 26 A330-300, 18 A350-900, 15 Boeing 777-300ER, 10 787-8 and 17 787-9.

China Southern is the fifth airline to withdraw the A380 from service, following Air France, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and wet-lease company Hi Fly.


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