COVID-19: Air France to Phase-out A380 superjumbos.

Air France’s fleet of nine Airbus A380 superjumbos will not take off again, the Air France-KLM group announced on Wednesday, after the coronavirus crisis led the company to ground the planes.

Previously, it had planned to phase them out by the end of 2022, but has now decided the A380s will not return to service.

Manufacturer Airbus last year announced that it would end production of the superjumbo, the world’s biggest passenger jet, in 2021.

According to Airbus’ April order book, there are only nine outstanding A380 orders – eight with Emirates, which owns almost half of the world’s 240 operational A380s, and one with All Nippon Airways.

The four-engine double-decker, which can carry up to 853 passengers, has long struggled to find buyers, with airlines preferring the flexibility and lower cost of wide-body twin-engine aircrafts.

Air France said the phasing out of its A380s would make its fleet more competitive, using “more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint.”

The superjumbos will be replaced by Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s, both widebody twin-engine jets.

The company said it would book an estimated 500-million-euro (549-million-dollar) write-down cost for the phasing out of the A380 fleet to its second quarter results of 2020.

The French government has promised Air France seven billion euros in loans and loan guarantees to survive the coronavirus crisis.

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