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[EN] China Southern aposentará os A380 até final de 2022

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E mais uma empresa dá baixa nos A380, a China Southern pretende aposentar seus 5 A380 até o final do ano.

Recebidos a partir de 2011, estes A380 eram empregados na rota CAN-PEK e algumas internacionais, como LAX.


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Feb 23, 2022


China Southern Airlines, the owner of five jumbo A380s is reportedly to retire the aircraft in China after more than 10 years' operation since their introduction in 2011.

Market insiders told the Global Times on Wednesday that two of the five aircraft will fly from Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province on Thursday to Southern California Logistics Airport (formerly George Air Force Base) located on the US West Coast.

FATIII Aviation, a Chinese aviation content creator, told the Global Times that B-6136 and B-6137, the carrier's first two A380s, were originally set to be retired and transferred offshore last year, but have been delayed for several months due to various reasons. The two aircraft will be parked at the Mojave Airport after arriving in the US. 

The story was also picked up by other media, including Jiemian.com which reported on Saturday that the first two A380 aircraft will be retired on Thursday, with the other three being removed from service later this year. Aviation content creator airwefly also reported that China Southern Airlines had signed contracts formalizing the retirement of its A380 aircraft. 

Sources from industry information provider VariFlight also confirmed with Global Times that there are currently no active flight plans for China Southern's  five A380s as of 1 pm of Wednesday. 

China Southern Airlines could not be reached for comment on the retirement of A380.

The A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the world, with a typical three-class configuration that can carry 555 passengers and a maximum passenger capacity of 850.

As the first and only airline in China to order the aircraft, there are disputes over its commercial value, with China Southern scoping out other potential ways to use the aircraft before ultimately deciding upon retirement.

The old days

China Southern Airlines signed a framework agreement for the purchase of A380 with Airbus as early as 2005, and it was not until 2011 that the A380 began to be delivered, missing the intended date which was to coincide with the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

In their first few years, the A380 was deployed on domestic routes between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,  also from Beijing to Kunming, with many noting that short-haul routes were not ideally suited for an aircraft design for long, intercontinental flights.. 

Later in October 2012, China Southern's A380s were reassigned for flights from Guangzhou to Los Angeles, which became the first international route of its A380, followed by routes from Guangzhou to Australia.

However, both domestically and internationally from Guangzhou, the A380 proved to be an awkward fit for the carrier who took a loss on the aircraft over their first few years of operation. In the first few years following their introduction of the A380, China Southern has also been paying for the loss of the A380.

In early 2013, there were media reports that the general manager of China Southern Airlines said at an internal meeting that in 2012, the loss of four A380 aircraft was between 150 million yuan ($23.73 billion) and 200 million yuan. Half a year later, it was reported that as of the end of July 2013, China Southern's five A380s had accumulated losses of up to 600 million yuan.

It was not until 2016 that the National Audit Office released the audit results of the 2014 financial performance of China Southern Air Holding Company, which mentioned the A380 loss, saying that the five Airbus A380 aircraft introduced in 2011 had low utilization rates and were costing the company money to keep them in the air, increasing the pressure on the company's operations.

However, in response to this audit result, China Southern responded that the A380 has been put into international long-distance routes such as to Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Sydney, and the aircraft has achieved profitability in 2015.

Hurt by epidemic 

In the following years, the daily utilization rate of A380 lagged far behind other wide-body aircraft, and the aircraft continued to prove difficult to match with suitable international routes.

In 2020 when the epidemic hurt the aviation industry and the global air travel demand greatly decreased. Other global A380 carriers such as Air France and Lufthansa began to accelerate the retirement of A380 aircraft, but A380 of Southern Airlines remained active.

In 2020, on several international routes operated by China Southern's A380, the flights were almost booked to capacity. Since 2021, the passenger capacity of the route between Guangzhou and Los Angeles has been high.

However, insiders said that since the outbreak of the epidemic, China Southern has not lost money in operating A380s, because the epidemic situation was not very severe for a period of time, and the circuit breaker mechanism was not frequently triggered.

But the overall decline in domestic and international travel demand is the fact that wide-body aircraft including A380 have to face.

With the attack of the Omicron variant, the circuit breaker policy of the Chinese regulator, which works on a traffic light system linked to imported COVID-19 cases, made large aircraft such as the A380 particularly vulnerable. 
Since 2022, international flights operated by A380 have been suspended on multiple occasions, this includes the Guangzhou to Los Angeles .

Internationally, in recent months, several airlines have announced that they will stop using the A380, including Air France, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Hi-Fly Airlines.




https://pt.flightaware.com/live/flight/B6136  VCV em 24/02/22

https://pt.flightaware.com/live/flight/B6137  idem

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