British Airways (BA, London Heathrow) has announced it will reactivate four of its twelve A380-800s starting in November 2021, four months earlier than previously planned.

The carrier said that the Airbus quadjets will first operate a number of scheduled short-haul services in Europe for crew familiarisation without disclosing the destinations of these flights. Afterwards, the aircraft will be deployed from London Heathrow to Miami Int'l and Los Angeles Int'l. In December, the type's network will expand to Dubai Int'l.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows that British Airways operates twelve A380s, which are 7.5 years old on average. They have been grounded since March 2020, except for ferry flights between various storage and maintenance locations. Currently, six are parked at Madrid Barajas, three at Doha Hamad Int'l, two at Teruel, and one is undergoing maintenance at Manila Ninoy Aquino Int'l.

The airline previously planned to reactivate the A380s in late March 2022, with the onset of the Summer 2022 season. In contrast to some other carriers - such as Lufthansa, Air France, Thai Airways International, and Malaysia Airlines - the British carrier did not speculate about the type's future prospects as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All twelve are slated to return to scheduled operations eventually.

British Airways said the decision to reactivate the A380s earlier than previously planned was related to the United States' decision to reopen to fully vaccinated European travellers. Besides increasing capacity by deploying the A380s, the airline will also add additional services on fifteen routes to the US and Canada. It will also relaunch scheduled flights to Austin Bergstrom Int'l, Orlando Int'l, Tampa Int'l, San Diego Int'l, Las Vegas McCarran, and Baltimore Thurgood Marshall. British Airways said the routes would restart in October and November 2021, although the exact timing will depend on when US borders reopen.

Editorial Comment: Ownership details of the A380s have been corrected - 18.10.2021 - 11:33 UTC