China Southern Airlines sent its first two aircraft to the Mojave desert to be dismantled earlier this year. The three remaining planes have also come to the end of their decade-long service.
Why is the A380 retiring so early?
The profitability of a single aircraft started at a lower moment of China Southern’s A380. In the following years, the daily utilization rate of China Southern’s A380 still has a large gap compared to other wide-body aircraft. It is challenging to make further breakthroughs on international routes. From the perspective of manufacturing alone, the A380 is an outstanding model. With the world’s most enormous passenger aircraft wings, a double-decker cabin can accommodate nearly 700 passengers while the cabin noise is relatively low, but from the perspective of commercial operations, the world’s largest aircraft is too big. There are few such markets today that can fill more than 500 seats. China Southern mainly operates its A380 from its hub in Guangzhou to Amsterdam, Beijing, Los Angeles, and Sydney. At the height of the first COVID-19 wave, almost all Airbus A380s around the world were grounded and sent to storage. China Southern was the only airline flying its A380s right throughout the pandemic. As China’s covid restriction has dramatically affected the airliner’s operations, aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 are more popular with airlines as they have smaller capacities but are still fuel efficient, which makes them easier to fill the aircraft.
During my summer vacation, I spent a month living in LA for plane spotting and have seen both B-6139 and B-6140 visiting LAX routinely. Though I know every time I see these two big boys might be the last time I see them, I never expect this day to arrive so quickly. A380 might not be the best-looking aircraft that ever existed, and I prefer flying a more modern aircraft like the A350 families and the B787 families; the A380 has always been an indispensable member of the aviation community. Sustainability is destined to become the future direction of the aviation industry. With the birth of more energy-efficient and sustainable aircraft, the era of the A380 will forever remain in our memories.
We will continue to embark on our everlasting journeys; this is the last farewell before the long journey. Thank you for the years you spent with us, dear, the one and only CZ A380 fleet!
Below are some shots taken by myself and @SillyGoose during our stay at LAX this past summer.
Cherish the time and opportunities to fly the birds you love because they might be gone anytime.