British Airways is reportedly bringing back five of its 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos from early November according to internal scheduling documents sighted by Head for Points in the latest sign of a sustained recovery for the airline industry.
BA grounded its fleet of gas-guzzling quad-engined superjumbos at the outset of the pandemic last year, just as border restrictions were being imposed and the demand for travel plummeted.
Unlike some airlines, however, British Airways has kept its A380’s close at hand, parking them at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport and occasionally flying them back to London Heathrow or its maintenance base in Cardiff for routine engineering work.
In the last month, there was significantly more engineering activity with some of the BA’s A380’s which would coincide with their rumoured return from November 8.
According to Head for Points, the double-deck aircraft will initially be put to work on short-haul flights to Frankfurt and Madrid so that pilots and cabin crew who haven’t flown on the planes for more than 18-months can get up to speed and reacquaint themselves with the planes.
The high-capacity planes will then serve some of the most popular destinations for the winter season, including: Miami from December 3, Dubai starting December 5 and Los Angeles beginning December 9.
The A380 may also be used on BA’s route to Dallas Fort Worth beginning December 7 but that’s subject to completion of work at DFW to be able to handle BA’s A380.
Qatar Airways also plans to return five of its A380’s to service from next month but the airline says this is more to do with the fact that it has grounded 13 of its A350 jets in a dispute with Airbus over alleged manufacturing defects.
Rather than operate its A380’s on short-haul routes, Qatar Airways will fly the plane empty for crew training purposes before pressing the plane into service on passenger routes.
At present, A380 services aren’t showing in BA’s official schedules and the airline has not commented on the rumours.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.