First retired A380 superjumbo parked at Tarmac Aerosave awaiting sale or scrap
The first Airbus superjumbo to exit service will be stored minus its engines at a French airfieldas its owner seeks a new operator for a plane that while still relatively young in industry terms has fallen out of favour with airlines.
Singapore Airlines still has brand new A380s on the way, and earlier this month revealed new seat designs for its superjumbos (see gallery above).
The A380 is the third built -- the first two being test planes -- and made the initial commercial flight by a superjumbo, between Singapore and Sydney on October 25, 2007. The jetliner's last passenger trip was to the city state from London on June 10, after which it was grounded for decommissioning. By comparison, Boeing 747-400 planes operated by British Airways typically date from 1990, according to the Ascend Worldwide database, with some slated to remain in service until 2024.
Dr. Peters, which owns four Singapore A380s, said that talks with potential new users of the aircraft continue and that it remains "optimistic" about agreeing a deal. At the same time, the jet's engines will be removed and returned to manufacturer Rolls-Royce for rental to other operators in a move that may buy the plane time or prove a prelude to its scrapping. The lessor used to get $US1.7 million ($A2.23 million) a month for the wide-body, whereas the Rolls deal will bring in $US480,000, offset by $US94,000 for storage and insurance.
Storing an A380 with no new operator in sight represents a setback for Airbus as it seeks to save the program through the sale of about 20 new planes to Emirates, the largest operator of the model. That deal could come next week at the Dubai Air Show and would help shore up build rates that have been repeatedly cut as orders dry up.
Airbus struck a blank on selling new A380s last year and has offered to revamp the model with fuel-saving winglets and 80 extra seats on top of the standard 550 to improve its appeal.
Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyreenees airport, located 120 kilometres from Airbus's Toulouse headquarters in southwest France, is a popular parking site for jetliners. Tarmac Aerosave, Europe's biggest aircraft storage company, says it can accommodate 25 planes there and hundreds more at Teruel, Spain.