SINGAPORE: After mothballing the enormous Airbus A380 during the tourism lockdown of 2020, some airlines have announced that they will begin flying the aircraft again.
Singapore Airlines will re-deploy the A380 on November 2021 on flights to London, while British Airways will also fly the superjumbo jet on routes between the UK and Europe.
Although Airbus announced it would stop manufacturing its A380 superjumbo aircraft in 2019, production continued for another two years, as many airlines flew A380s in their fleets.
However, one year later, the A380's considerable size and high operating costs proved a disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required airlines to have minimal and cost-efficient international flight schedules, causing most A380 fleets to be grounded.
Airlines that retired their A380 fleets included Germany's Lufthansa and Air France, which made it increasingly unclear whether the plane would survive the pandemic.
The A380's first commercial flight took place in 2007 with Singapore Airlines, flying from Singapore to Sydney.
Singapore Airlines had 17 A380s before the pandemic, though they were all later grounded. In November 2020, the airline said it would reduce its fleet to 12, though it recently announced plans to re-deploy some of its A380s.
From 18th November, A380s will be serving one of Singapore Airlines' three nonstop Singapore to London services, as the country introduces quarantine-free travel for certain vaccinated travelers.
Singapore Airlines recognizes that the A380 has enduring appeal for passengers, which is why it is returning the aircraft to its rotation as part of its "premium positioning," said Siva Govindasamy, Singapore Airlines' global public affairs head.
"The A380 is a wonderful aircraft. Some people just book the A380 specifically to fly on it," he added, as quoted by CNN.
Govindasamy also said it makes economic sense to return the A380 to the London to Singapore route, as its high number of seats is an advantage on routes where airport slots are limited.
Singapore Airlines is currently considering other routes that could be served by the superjumbo, stating, "We will continue to monitor this very closely over the next couple of weeks and months before making a decision."