DALLAS – The only Chinese Airbus A380 operator, China Southern Airlines (CZ), will finally retire the superjumbo on Sunday, November 6, with a final transpacific rotation to the United States, marking the end of an era in Chinese aviation history.
China Southern was the only Chinese carrier to ever operate the superjumbo, with a total of five units, and it was the only operator to never ground the double-decker during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last flight of the China Southern A380 will be CZ328, which is the return journey from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guangzhou (CAN), and will be operated by one of the two remaining active aircraft in the fleet. Yesterday, the airline operated the last Chinese A380 flight to Europe, specifically to Amsterdam (AMS) as CZ307, with the aircraft registered as B-6140.
The following path of the CZ superjumbo will be its transfer to the aircraft graveyard of Mojave (MHV), where the two first peers are already being set to scrap in the coming months. According to the China Southern schedule, where no A380 flight appears in the coming year, it is almost certain that the airline will never retrieve the aircraft back into service.
A Particular A380 Operator
Even though plenty of East-Asiatic airlines such as Asiana (OZ), Korean Air (KE), Singapore Airlines (SQ), and Malaysia Airlines (MH) placed their confidence in the Airbus A380, the superjumbo never made a big impact in the world’s most populated country: China.
Differing significantly from the pattern inside the country, China Southern took delivery of the first of five Airbus A380s in October, 2011. It was and will be the only Chinese airline to operate the aircraft, focusing its operations on connecting Guangzhou (CAN) with some of the world’s most important hubs such as AMS, LAX, or Sydney (SYD).
Additionally, CZ was the only airline that never grounded the type during the COVID-19 pandemic and kept operating flights from China with practically 0% occupancy due to the sudden drop in travel demand, only benefiting from the enormous growth in these years in medical cargo exports from the country to the rest of the world.
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