British Airways is to reintroduce the Airbus A380 aircraft into service at London Heathrow.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, BA’s fleet of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft have been grounded.
BA CEO Sean Doyle previously indicated that the aircraft would be reintroduced to the US in late 2021. Though, there were doubts this could happen due to uncertainty over when the US would lift travel restrictions.
BA has now confirmed that 4 aircraft will be brought back into service to operate long haul flights from early December.
Short Haul Flights
The Airbus A380 will operate short haul return flights from London Heathrow in November to allow for crew familiarisation.
BA has not officially confirmed on which routes these will operate though it is widely reported to be a morning return flight to Frankfurt and an afternoon return flight to Madrid.
The A380 is not currently appearing in online timetables and it may be they are only loaded shortly beforehand.
It is also likely that BA will limit the number of seats sold on these flights in case aircraft have to be substituted at the last minute.
Long Haul Flights
The Airbus A380 will start long haul flights to Dubai from Friday 3 December, Miami from Sunday 5 December and Los Angeles from Thursday 9 December:
Flight BA107 Depart London Heathrow 12:25 – Arrive Dubai 23:35
Flight BA106 Depart Dubai 02:15 – Arrive London Heathrow 06:25
Flight BA209 Depart London Heathrow 14:15 – Arrive Miami 19:10
Flight BA208 Depart Miami 21:30 – Arrive London Heathrow 11:00
Flight BA269 Depart London Heathrow 15:15 – Arrive Los Angeles 18:35
Flight BA268 Depart Los Angeles 20:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 15:10
The reintroduction of the Airbus A380 is clearly very encouraging. Hopefully all 12 aircraft will return in 2022. Had the fleet remained in storage this, along with the early retirement of the Boeing 747, would have left BA with a significantly smaller long haul fleet in 2022.
The Airbus A380 is likely to remain a part of BA’s long haul fleet for a long time to come yet. BA was due to start retrofitting its Club Suite to the fleet from 2023. This is likely to be delayed due to COVID-19.
Bringing an aircraft back into service after being grounded for more than 18 months does have its challenges. This does mean that last minute aircraft changes can’t be ruled out.