Why Air France is speeding up the withdrawal of the Airbus A380 - The Point

Overweight, operational reliability poor, excess various of Airbus A380, several factors of co-morbidity have been due to the end-of-life of the super jumbo Air

Why Air France is speeding up the withdrawal of the Airbus A380 - The Point

Overweight, operational reliability poor, excess various of Airbus A380, several factors of co-morbidity have been due to the end-of-life of the super jumbo Air France, which will not survive the severe crisis in air transport following the Covid-19. Before that, one of the ten A380 aircraft in the fleet had already been returned to its owner.

The program of withdrawal of the A380, expected before the pandemic until 2022, has been accelerated. The other nine remaining, five of which are in the property of Air France and four are rental, join the storage spaces of Tarmac Aerosave at Tarbes-Lourdes, and Teruel in Spain. What are the antechambers of cemeteries aircraft. The boning perfectly organized and regulated allows to develop the spare parts including engines, landing gear, doors, the elements of aerofoil are easily found takers, especially from the had aged only ten years, mid-life.

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Ten years on a network that is poorly adapted

The saga of the A380 at Air France began on 23 November 2009, with the first commercial flight of the A380 between Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and New York-Kennedy. It is the mythical line where traditionally the first. It is also an axis very cost-effective where last year Air France will offer even two daily flights to A380, in addition to other frequencies by Boeing 777 and airbus A330. But the lines million passengers, able to absorb the supply of an aircraft of 500 seats, are relatively rare on the network of the company. Also the A380 is flying there mainly to North America (Washington, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Mexico city), a few to Asia (Shanghai, hong Kong) and South Africa. Destination atypical, Abidjan is served three times per week to meet the dynamism of business in Côte d'ivoire.

If the plane is not filled, the profitability of the flight is not ensured. However, it is unlikely that, on a service, the go one day and return the next day are full. At the direction of the Air France fleet, the program of the very large airliner arrived in 1996 at a time when the major flow of traffic were supposed to connect the hubs, such as Paris, London, Frankfurt, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc, where connections allowed to go to the other destinations. This global pattern has been put in default by new generations of aircraft performance such as the B787 Dreamliner, the A350, the A330neo, the A321XLR able to offer direct flights between medium-sized cities at the same cost per passenger as the connections between the hubs by A380. The modernized version of the Boeing 747 has the same commercial failure. They are both quadriréacteurs, therefore, equipped with four engines that consume more, pollute more and require more maintenance than jet aircraft such as the Boeing 777 or the A350, competitors offering slightly fewer seats. The liabilities of the A380, its bunkers are badly adapted to the transport of containers and the recipe specific to the transport of the cargo is not significant while she is on a B777.

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Concern specific to Air France that don't know about the other companies, the operational reliability has not always been the appointment to the point that the schedule sought to provide an airplane of reserve or available quickly. Air France has experienced a major problem of engine not elucidated to this day. September 30, 2017, a portion of one of the engines of the A380, providing a link between Paris and Los Angeles, had been lost in flight, over Greenland. The aircraft was diverted to the military airport at Goose Bay, Labrador (eastern Canada), without loss of 520 occupants (496 passengers and 24 crew members). In the wake of several years of research on the pack ice, most of the elements of the engine have been found and were being expertise.

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A cabin to renovate

Another argument to keep permanently to the ground and the A380 to Air France, the cabin has not been renovated at the end of ten years half-life of the aircraft as have competitors such as Singapore Airlines. Of course, the operation is very costly on a plane with two decks. The configuration of the cabins retained by Air France provided to the front of the main deck nine suites in first class with lie-flat beds, a private space for changing, a bar exclusively reserved to the first, with a buffet. The 80 seats of the business class occupy a large part of the upper deck and are arranged 2-2-2. Some seats will not have access to the central alley. In addition, these seats belong to a previous generation, are not horizontal. The passenger, at night, gliding, and has the impression of being on a toboggan.

At the rear of the upper deck, two small cabins offer 38 seats in 2-3-2 in Premium Economy and 44 seats 2-4-2 in Economy. The rest of the 389 seats in this class occupy the main deck behind the first. In total, the A380, Air France offers 516 seats, a configuration that is in the middle of the airlines operating the A380. She goes 407 (Korean Air) to 526 seats (Lufthansa), but Emirates has a few aircraft, bi-class of 615 seats. No carrier is interested in the opportunity to take the 863 passengers provided by the certification of the A380 !

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Updated Date: 21 May 2020, 19:33

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