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British Airways is now the 2nd biggest global operator of the A380

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When anyone mentions the A380, you think of Emirates.

This isn’t surprising, of course. Emirates is by far the bigger user of the aircraft and built its entire business model around the double decker, ferrying passengers around the world in bulk via its Dubai hub.

Intriguingly, however, British Airways has quietly crept up the rankings to become the 2nd biggest operator of the A380 despite having just 12 of them.

British Airways A380

Cirium published some interesting operational details on the A380 this week which I thought were worth sharing.

As you would expect, given the number of airlines that retired their A380 fleets during the pandemic, A380 flights in total have dropped sharply. There are scheduled to be 5,271 A380 flights this month, compared with 9,764 in November 2019.

The numbers are heading up, as airlines bring their A380 fleets back into action. Flights are up 125% in November 2022 vs November 2021. The low point was June 2020 when, amazingly, only 43 A380 flights took place globally.

Who are the biggest A380 operators?

Only nine airlines have operated any A380 services this year.

Emirates, of course, rules the roost with 70% of all A380 flights.

Emirates A380

British Airways comes in 2nd, with 450 A380 services due this month.

Behind BA come arguably more high profile A380 operators – Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Qantas.

If you want to fly an A380, your options are continually shrinking. This month only 45 airports will see an A380 depart, compared with 62 in November 2019.

Outside of the hubs of the biggest operators (Heathrow, Singapore, Doha, Dubai) the airport with the most A380 services is Bangkok. This is despite Thai Airways parking up its own fleet of six A380 aircraft.

The busiest A380 route in the world is London Heathrow to Dubai, with both Emirates and – on some flights – British Airways using the aircraft.

This article from Simple Flying is worth a look if you want to find out more about what it takes to get a grounded A380 back in the sky. Qantas claims that it requires 4,500 hours of work.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

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There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

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British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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The Platinum Card from American Express

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Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

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There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

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American Express Business Gold

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (65)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Grimz says:

    I’m flying to MIA next April in business and have a choice of A380 or CS in 787 what would people choose?

    • Richie says:

      Which seat do you sleep the best in?

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      Chose the flight that best fits your schedule

      Chances are whatever plane type you choose now will change between now and then anyway!

    • dougzz99 says:

      Much depends on your BA status. If your seat choice is left overs then CS wins. If you’re Gold and get seat choice to pick the best CW seats then I’d take the A380. Be aware aircraft swaps not unusual.

  • Ron Jacobs says:

    Congratulations, Rob, on using the word ‘amazingly’ rather than the now ubiquitous misuse of the word ‘incredibly’.

    • Jim says:

      Though when Qatar Airways pays the bills?

      • Jim says:

        Awful place for LGBTQ, etc, when you think about it.

        I have always been profoundly pro LGBTQ+

        • Jim says:

          Maybe Qatar Airways is a forward-thinking modern company and deeply ashamed of the bad stuff that goes on back in Qatar? They hate the misogyny.

          You only have to look at the women changing out of Qatari dress into jeans & T-shirts as soon as the seat belt light goes off to see how the women hate this oppressive state.

          • ADS says:

            have you seen what happened to Marc Bennett – who worked for Qatar Airways / Qatar Tourism ?

          • Jim says:

            indeed siasat dot com/british-man-found-hanging-in-qatar-allegedly-tortured-by-secret-police-2424657/

          • Jim says:

            The big problem here is: they have huge amounts of money, unbelievably huge. Oil & gas. Combined with being incredibly arrogant. Lazy. Nasty, Badly-educated. They were simple fishermen until a few years ago, uneducated, probably quite nice underneath but all that has gone with the arrogance of easy money.

            So of course they can bring about some horrible outcomes. You read this stuff in Jack Reacher novels. But actually $100,000 gets you a professional assassin. The Qataris do it – same as the Saudis.

  • Greenpen says:

    The Qatar A380 bar is great and as a J passenger you can use it, not reserved for F.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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