A380 superjumbos are already being scrapped for parts just months after Airbus announced their discontinuation
- According to Reuters, models of the A380 — also known as the superjumbo and considered Airbus’ flagship passenger carrier — are now being dismantled for parts.
- This move comes just months after Airbus announced they would be discontinuing the aircraft after orders dried up.
- Forbes columnist Michael Goldstein explained that the aircraft is not only costly itself but it’s also expensive to run.
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The A380, also known as the superjumbo and considered Airbus’ flagship passenger carrier, has been in production since 2007.
One of the most expensive and lavish jets ever made, the aircraft — originally designed to replace Boeing’s 747 — is able to seat up to 800 passengers.
According toReuters, however, two models of the world’s largest passenger carriers are now being broken down for their valuable components, just months after Airbusannounced it would be terminating production of the jet by 2021.
According to Reuters, the scrapping of the two of the planes started in December 2018, just halfway through their expected lifetime.
The dismantling of the two double-deckers — which Singapore Airlines returned after using for 10 years — is already underway at the Tarbes Lourdes airport in southern France.
235 of the passenger carriers have been manufactured and there are currently still 233 of them in use.
Read more: The $446 million Airbus A380 is the largest and most expensive airliner in the world. Take a look inside.
Air France also announced last November that it would be returning five of its A380s when their leases expire in 2021, according toTraveller.com.
Images from social media outlets show engines being dismantled as well as one plane missing its nose cone, where the radar would usually sit. As well as this, doors to the passenger cabin and the hold have also been removed.
The end of the superjumbo
Unfortunately, the jet hasn’t generated the interest Airbus had hoped it would — the company found that airlines willing to put the A380 into service are in short supply.
According toForbes columnist Michael Goldstein, the aircraft is not only pricey in itself but it’s also costly to run: “In addition to demanding airport modifications for its huge passenger load and million-pound bulk, economics demand that it be flown full to pay its enormous hourly costs,” he said in 2018.
As well as being inefficient, for a lot of airlines the models are just too large for many routes to make a profit from.
For a lot of airlines, the A380 models are just too large for many routes to make a profit from.Airbus
According toNews.com.au, airlines have the option either to buy planes outright or to lease them.
While buying an A380 leaves airlines with the option of selling them to another airline farther down the line, it can cost anywhere between $300 million to $500 million.
Leasing them, on the other hand, allows the plane to be taken back once one airline is finished with the plane, to be leased back out to another airline.
Some airlines, however, are replacing A380 orders with other models from the Airbus range, predominantly the A350 and A33neo. Therein lies the problem — there are few airlines interested in taking on a discounted A380.
Read more: Ryanair’s CEO says we’ll see ‘pilot-less planes’ in the next 40 to 50 years
Until a few months ago, the number of orders for the aircraft had surpassed 310. As of April 30, 2019, the total number of orders for the A380 was just 290, including those that had already been delivered to airlines.
This means that just over 50 of the aircraft have been ordered for production.
However, since hundreds of A380s have already been manufactured and the planes have a lifespan of over 20 years, they won’t be entirely disappearing from the skies for a while.
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