Châteauroux "Marcel Dassault" Airport (CHR) shared footage of an unusual sight: for a week already, six Airbus A380 aircraft have been parked on a taxiway by British Airways, and five more are expected to join them soon. The eleven superjumbos should remain on the site for the next six months at least.

Amid the loss of demand that the air transport industry has been facing due to the coronavirus epidemic, British Airways was one of the last carriers to ground its fleet of twelve Airbus A380. After sending a first batch of six superjumbos earlier in April 2020, five more will be sent to Châteauroux Airport in the coming days. The twelfth one, registered G-XLEG, is currently undergoing repairs in Manilla, Philippines.

A taxiway was closed to store the fleet. A team of technicians of the British carrier will put the aircraft into condition for long-term storage, as they are expected to stay on the ground for six months.

With London Heathrow Airport (LHR) unable to welcome the fleet, Châteauroux was chosen for its large storing capacity. "We have been in negotiations for several weeks with British Airways for the storage of its planes on our land, and we have won the contract,” Didier Lefresne, airport manager, explained to La Nouvelle République.

Several aircraft maintenance and disassembly companies are based at the location. In normal circumstances, the airport is the main site in Europe for take-off and flight procedure training, with airlines, manufacturers and air forces carrying out an average of eight touch and go per hour. 

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British Airways, amongst one of the last airlines to ground its Airbus A380 fleet, is shipping the double-deckers to France temporary storage.