DALLAS – Lufthansa (LH) has reactivated its first Airbus A380 following an announcement in June that the popular double-decker would be returned from storage.
According to flight tracking data, D-AIMK flew from Teruel (TEV) to Frankfurt (FRA) yesterday under the callsign “Lufthansa Nine Nine Two One.” Because of its relatively dry climate, the Spanish airfield where the aircraft has been stored since the outbreak of the pandemic has proven to be a popular location for long-term aircraft storage.
The aircraft was flown with its gear down due to a lack of infrastructure at TEV that would allow the massive aircraft to be jacked up for landing gear functionality tests. As a result, the maximum altitude reached was only 30,000 feet, and the slower airspeed gave a flight time of just over three hours.
After arriving in Germany, all A380 aircraft being returned to service will undergo an intensive series of engineering checks to prepare them before their summer debut next year.
Prior to the pandemic, the carrier had a fleet of 14 A380 aircraft, but that number has nearly been cut in half, with only eight examples remaining. LH stated in an earlier press release that it had decided to fly the A380 due to “the steep rise in customer demand and the delayed delivery of ordered aircraft.” The prolonged problems that have plagued the Boeing 777X are most likely a driving factor behind the return of its larger European counterpart.
LH has already stated that returning aircraft will be based at Munich (MUC), with probable routes to be announced later. It has also not committed to reactivating all of its remaining A380s and has hinted that further fleet downsizing may be possible, stating that the eight examples will remain for the “time being.”
Featured Image: LH A380 departing Los Angeles (LAX). Photo: Luca Flores/Airways