DALLAS – For the German giant, Lufthansa (LH), preparations are underway for a strong summer 2023 season, and one of the key moves in getting the job done is bringing back the Airbus A380.
This year’s summer saw pent-up demand that shocked many from the airline industry and airline bosses on witnessing this, looked at one machine they once had that could really help.
As reported by aero.de, “We are currently planning three A380s that will come to Munich in June 2023,” said LH boss Carsten Spohr on Thursday in Frankfurt.
The CEO added, “But this is just the beginning. Given the demand and for operational reasons, we need to increase this number. Three is not enough.”
First to Storage and the Last One Out
When the pandemic struck, the A380 was the first to be sent to storage. Deep storage, to be precise. As time passed by, the return of the A380 seemed ever so doubtful for nearly all its operators, but it all proved wrong.
The type was the weapon for high-demand routes pulling out of the pandemic and as such, LH made the call to bring them back, and so did many other carriers across the globe. But it’s not a simple call that’s going to bring a fleet of such large aircraft back to flying fitness. A long reactivation process is imperative.
In a Bloomberg post, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated that reactivating the A380 required 4,500 man-hours for each aircraft.
“They replace all 22 wheels, all 16 brakes, and dispose of all oxygen bottles and fire extinguishers. Everything on board the aircraft will be replaced,” he stated.
Qantas is going rather aggressively with its A380 return plan compared to LH. 10 of the 12 kangaroo A380s are being brought back. On the other hand, for the German carrier that once flew a fleet of 14, only eight remained with them while the rest were sold back to Airbus.
Even for the remaining eight, a plan to bring back around half of them exists at this moment. The question is, will flying a fleet of eight A380s favor LH’s profit books?
The A380 always proved cumbersome for every airline except Emirates due to a rather small fleet size that resulted in a high operating cost and too many seats to fill at competitive pricing.
D-AIMK to Lead the Comeback
D-AIMK, or Mike Kilo, is the first on the list of reactivations. The aircraft is getting dusted off in Teruel, Spain, to undergo a 53-day on-site reactivation process. Once done, she’ll fly to Frankfurt (FRA) sometime in December and then undergo the comprehensive C4 Check before commencing commercial operations out of Munich (MUC).
Lufthansa also benefits drastically from having its very own engineering and maintenance facility that can nearly look after everything to fix the plan to shape, unlike others that rely on some third party for necessary services. Not to forget the A380 in Teruel had witnessed a hail storm.
A team of some 10 technicians will have to look into the aircraft over the course of two months to get it airworthy. Dirk Meyer from LH states, “It is a huge challenge for us to get the aircraft back into service” as published on reisetopia.de
For those who remember, the airline’s A380s were primarily based out of Frankfurt (FRA), so this would see a new twist with operations moving south to Munich (MUC) from 2023 onwards. MUC will see the A380 complement the A350s that have firm ground in the Bavarian capital.
Where would the A380 fly? Looking at the massive demand that existed this year across the pond, could Norther America be at the top of the list and could we expect the first set of destinations to be Major American metros?
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Featured image: Lufthansa A380. Photo: Brad Tisdel/Airways