I< Last Sunday there was a festive atmosphere on the runway of Tokyo Narita Airport. Thousands of Japanese people crowded the airport fence to see a long-awaited plane: the third A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA). Virus has ensured the last of three A380s have been lost to ANA in Hamburg since the start of 2020 airbus factory Finkenwerder stood around on the Elbe and could not be delivered. His fans were eagerly waiting for him – because “Ka La” (Sunset in Hawaiian), as he is named, finally completes a family of flying sea turtles. ANA has painted all A380s brightly colored with tortoiseshells, as they only use giants for air traffic.
The colorful exterior serves a good cause, as the marine animals known as “honu” in Hawaii are seriously threatened. Baby actors in plush turtle costumes danced on the tarmac last week in the candy colors of the plane’s paintings, to celebrate the completion of the A380 tiny family known as “Flying Honu.” What the whole thing showed: The A380 is still popular with travelers and airplane fans alike—and it’s currently experiencing an unexpected comeback around the world that no one would have dreamed of months ago.
As vaccination rates have increased around the world and people who have been vaccinated are given greater freedom to travel, the number of bookings for air travel has skyrocketed. At the start of the autumn holiday, at German airports, especially the airport in the capital city, it was possible to see what bottlenecks were causing infrastructure weakened by the pandemic.
Where does our A380 fleet stand?
On top of all that, online flight bookings grew by a triple-digit percentage due to the imminent opening of the United States for all vaccinated passengers from 8 November – a 600 percent increase from the previous year, with British Virgin Atlantic Airways reporting a growth of 600 percent. Almost nothing happened.
All of a sudden the airlines remember that there is still an A380 fleet somewhere that has actually already taken off and is now perfect for solving serious problems. A good example is British Airways (BA), which will initially re-fly four of its twelve mothballed giants from November. And – A380 fans see – even in November every day on a morning commute from London Heathrow to Frankfurt and back. The comfort of your own business class compartment can be booked there and back for cheap from around 260 euros. With such a short distance, BA first has to retrain enough staff to be able to send the A380 to Los Angeles, Miami and Dubai in the winter.
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