Every aviation enthusiast had a very bittersweet Valentine’s Day in 2019, as Airbus announced that they are canceling the production of the Super Jumbo in 2021. As of that day, the European aircraft manufacturer would not accept any new orders for their flagship aircraft, the A380.

Airlines were not very keen to order the A380 either. One of the main reasons for the cancelation of the production so soon was the fact that Emirates, the biggest Airbus A380 operator, reduced its order for the aircraft.

When Airbus announced that they are ceasing the production of the Super Jumbo, Tom Enders, the former CEO of the company put it simply:

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of the A380 deliveries in 2021”.

Second coming of the A380

Since the announcement, some significant news regarding the Airbus A380 popped up. Which poses a question ‒ is the quad-engine jet undergoing a midlife crisis and will make drastic changes to its lifestyle?

The signs are there: The A380 is having problems with its career, as nobody wants to employ the aircraft. The A380 witnessed changes of its “parents”, as multiple people had their reign on the Airbus CEO throne. One of them got even kicked out due to the delays of the program back in 2006, amongst several other reasons.

But is the A380 poised for a second coming?

Firstly, just two days ago, on July 1, 2019, Emirates started flying from Dubai to Muscat with an A380, replacing the Boeing 777 on the route.

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As Airbus prepares for the end of the A380 and airlines around the world gradually phase out their last superjumbos, Emirates shows no stopping when it comes to showcasing its flagship aircraft. This time – by launching the world’s shortest superjumbo route. On July 1, 2019, the airline inaugurated regular A380 service between Dubai (UAE) and Muscat (Oman): a journey that covers 340 km (211 miles) each way and takes only around 44 minutes.
 

Secondly, on the same day, Etihad also announced a new route served with an A380 – Abu Dhabi to Seoul. The United Arab Emirates-based carrier will replace Boeing 787 on the connection between the two major cities in Asia. Etihad will operate Flight EY876 and Flight EY873 daily.

Thirdly, All Nippon Airways received their first A380 on March 20, 2019. The carrier ordered three Super Jumbos in 2016 and plans to deploy all of them on the same route between Tokyo-Narita and Hawaii’s Honolulu International Airport.

Finally, Hi Fly, an ACMI and aircraft leasing company, is dancing around with the idea that a second A380 would join their fleet. An article published on Simple Flying has revealed that Hi Fly will reflect upon their year with the aircraft and assess whether a second Airbus A380 would be joining its fleet in 2020.

Reality check

It might appear these headlines proved the doubters wrong: airlines have found routes that have the infrastructure to handle the A380 and still provide a profit. Demand for second-hand A380 aircraft would be very alive if Hi Fly decides to add an extra aircraft to their fleet.

 But, how likely is it?

Activity of Hi Fly’s A380

Crowds lined up to see and tour the Hi Fly A380 at the Farnborough Show back in July 2018, when the Portuguese airline revealed their newest acquisition.