Etihad has officially moved one of its Airbus A380s into long-term storage in Tarbes, France, joining a long line of airlines pressing pause on their four-engine fleets.
The six-year-old aircraft, registration A6-APA msn 166, was the first A380 to have been delivered to Etihad, back in 2014.
Now, it has been transported to the infamous aircraft storage facility and boneyard at Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport, indefinitely.
A6-APA departed from Abu Dhabi International Airport at 10:46am local time. After a flight time of six hours and 44 minutes, the aircraft touched down at Tarbes.
The last commercial flight performed by A6-APA was EY455 Sydney to Abu Dhabi on 22 March 2020.
While Etihad has hinted at a premature retirement for its A380 fleet, and entirely removed its four-engined superjumbos from its schedule, there has been no official retirement announcement on any of its current A380 aircraft.
A6-APA has now joined another UAE A380, which landed for the final time at Tarbes just last week.
Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the A380, retired its first superjumbo, 12 years after the aircraft was delivered.
The retired plane, registration A6-EDG, was the second A380 to ever be delivered to the airline, which was received by Emirates in October 2008. It was the 13th A380 to ever be built.
In fact, the plane has been retired on the exact 12th anniversary of its entrance into service, which took place on 27 October, 2008.
Emirates said that it had intended to retire the plane prior to COVID-19, due to upcoming requirements for heavy maintenance on the aircraft.
Meanwhile, Portuguese airline Hi Fly also announced it will phase out its only Airbus A380 after just three years in operation.
According to the business, the decision not to extend the initial agreed lease period was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which it said has “drastically reduced the demand for very large aircraft”.
The Airbus A380 is set to be replaced in the Hi Fly fleet by additional Airbus A330s, which the airline stated are “smaller and more adequate” for current market conditions.