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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.


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

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

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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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Comments (65)

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

  • TimM says:

    My nearest experience of an A380 was following one in to LHR in an A319 when the A380 was new. We suffered unexpected turbulence and the captain confirmed it was from the wake of the A380 ahead of us. I assume it was reported as an incident and that greater distances behind an A380 are required now. Not quite the same as being on one I know.

  • Vit says:

    My first flight with A380 was with EK to BKK in Y though. Still a good experience 10 years ago as a newly graduate. Was still a nice experience.

    Fast forward, supposed to be on QR, A380, DOH-BKK leg, next month. This time in J with a baby on tow. Looking forward to IT. Hopefully. No involuntarily downgrade and worse equipment change 😊

  • Just Nick says:

    Hi there. Is there a simple way of looking for Qatar A380 avios availability and then going though to book it. My avios sit in my BA account and seems almost impossible to check for availability and proceed to a booking.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Linking the accounts should suffice to let you see QR availability

      • Geoff says:

        I had to transfer some avios from BA to QR before I could see any availability.

  • Greenpen says:

    My first A380 was on one of the Air France familiarisation flights from LHR to CDG. Many enthusiasts on the flight and before take off we could wander all over the aeroplane. The most interesting part was the reaction of the normal passengers who had simply booked the flight they wanted to go to Paris on and who were somewhat bemused by the carnival goings on!

    We got a certificate signed by the pilot too!

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    I’ll be desperately sad to see it go when that happens.Unrivalled passenger space and plenty of storage nooks. Plus it has that big plane vibe of numerous 90’s action films.

  • DevonDiamond says:

    Had my best ever sleep on a plane in premium economy on BA on an A380

  • John says:

    Recently enjoyed 11 hours a BA A380 service to Joburg. Very quiet in the upper deck CW cabin, with a large bathroom perfect for changing into pyjamas. The impressively large forward staircase was roped-off as we used an upper deck air bridge on departure and arrival. Huge stowage bins beneath the windows compensated for the otherwise complete lack of storage in the old yin yang seat. Staff were fab; dinner was atrocious; coffee atrocious; my breakfast omelette was the culinary highlight.

  • David S says:

    Love the A380. Have flown in both Bus and Econ on BA and QR. You don’t even know that you have taken off as it is so smooth

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

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