Three years after parking its last Airbus A380, Lufthansa announced that the double-decker is returning to the skies.
According to the German carrier, A380 operations will resume beginning on June 1 with daily flights from Munich to Boston, followed by New York-JFK on July 4. The airline expects as many as four A380s to be stationed at its Munich hub by the end of the year.
The re-deployment of the double-decker plane allows Lufthansa to expand its premium cabin offering at its southern hub. Each Airbus A380 has eight seats in First Class, 78 in Business Class, and 52 in Premium Economy.
According to Lufthansa, the decision to bring some of the 14 Airbus A380s back to service was because it saw a “significant increase in demand for airline tickets and the delayed delivery of ordered aircraft.”
Lufthansa recently took delivery of a factory-fresh Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner following a hefty delay due to some data analysis errors related to the plane’s forward pressure bulkhead, as noted by Reuters.
Likewise, because of Boeing’s continuous delays with the 777-9 program—which isn’t expected to arrive until 2025—the airline ordered an additional five A350-900s, ten A350-1000s, and seven Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, adding to the already robust tally of 100 planes on order.
“Seven highly economical and fuel-efficient 787-9 passenger aircraft are intended to fill the capacity gaps created by the delayed delivery of the Boeing 777-9,” said Lufthansa, also clarifying that delivery dates for the newly ordered Dreamliners “will be revised and, in some cases, brought forward to 2023 and 2024.”
Similarly, other airlines—including British Airways and Qatar Airways—have also been pushed to bring back to service some of their parked A380s to meet the surge in air travel demand. And Etihad Airways is expected to follow suit in July.
Allegris: Not on the A380
The German carrier recently unveiled a new onboard product named Allegris. Already available on the three Boeing 787-9s Lufthansa received in the last six months, albeit without the new First Class suite.
According to the airline, the upcoming A350-900s will come equipped with the all-new First Class suites, followed by the 777-9s. Likewise, the new cabin will retrofit the Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets.
It is unlikely that the Airbus A380s will be retrofitted with the new Allegris product.
Looking back: Lufthansa and the A380
The German carrier took delivery of the first Airbus A380 on May 19, 2010. Registered D-AIMA and named ‘Frankfurt am Main,’ the plane flew its inaugural service to New York JFK a few days later.
Thirteen more planes followed, all in the same 509-seat configuration that it has today.
The fleet was deployed on the carrier’s most popular routes, including New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Beijing.
Initially, all the fleet was based in Frankfurt, but as Lufthansa decided to power up Munich, some aircraft were transferred to the airline’s Bavarian Hub to increase capacity on some routes.
The last aircraft of the type joined the fleet in April 2015 and had an active life of just five years before the pandemic busted the industry, causing the airlines to ground their largest aircraft. During the last three years, Lufthansa disposed of five A380s.
Out of the remaining nine, seven were parked at Teruel airport in Spain, one in Frankfurt, and one in Manila, where the airline runs one of its most extensive maintenance facilities worldwide.