British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) and Qantas (QF, Sydney Kingsford Smith) have said they expect their respective A380-800s to return to service going forward, while China Southern Airlines (CZ, Guangzhou) expressed a more reserved stance, indicating it would "review" the quadjet's future role.

During a CAPA Live webinar, British Airways' chief executive Sean Doyle stressed that his carrier had several routes where the A380 was still a perfect fit.

"We can fly it to many destinations. We flew it to places like Hong Kong International and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, it worked well in the markets like Boston. Even on the East Coast and Miami International, we found that the A380 worked very well," he said.

However, Doyle underlined that the aircraft would not be reactivated until demand rebounds to the requisite level, which, he estimated, could happen in 2023 or 2024. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, British Airways operates twelve A380-800s, which are seven years old on average. Eleven units are owned by the carrier, and the last one dry-leased from AerCap. Currently, six are stored at Madrid Barajas with three each at Doha Hamad International and Teruel airports. British Airways has been performing regular maintenance on the aircraft throughout the pandemic.

Australia's Qantas also plans to reactivate all of its twelve A380-800s in due course.

"We think we will reactivate all of the A380s. We spent a lot of money on them. Once demand is there, they’re going to be good aircraft," Chief Executive Alan Joyce said.

He agreed with Doyle concerning the timing of the double-deckers' return, indicating that demand for international travel would most likely only return to a sufficient level in 2024. However, he stressed that Qantas would need up to six months' notice to reactivate the A380s and could do it earlier, demand permitting.

Qantas owns all of its A380-800s. They are 11.7 years old on average and are all stored in California - ten in Victorville and two at Los Angeles International.

In turn, China Southern Airlines' Senior Vice President (International & Corporate Relations) Wu Guoxiang was more reserved, suggesting the A380s' future at the airline was still up for discussion. It currently operates five owned A380-800s, which are 9.5 years old on average. It is the only of the three airlines which actively deploys the aircraft in revenue service.

"Maybe it is too large for the route, and its operating cost is very high. It is still in our consideration how we solve this problem," Wu said.