Air France (AF, Paris CDG) has announced that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has resolved to retire all nine A380-800s effective immediately.

"The phase-out of the Airbus A380 fleet fits in the Air France-KLM Group fleet simplification strategy of making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint," the Franco-Dutch holding said.

The quadjets were originally due to leave Air France's fleet by the end of 2022.

Air France used to operate ten A380-800s but the first of these, F-HPJB (msn 40), was retired at the end of 2019 and is currently stored at Knock. The remaining nine were grounded on March 16 as a part of wide-ranging network cuts caused by the pandemic.

The French airline owns five of the nine remaining A380s and leases the other four from DS Aviation, the ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows. The aircraft are 9.2 years old on average. They had accumulated between 26,168 and 41,301 flight hours, and between 2,839 and 4,898 cycles through January 31, 2020. All Air France's A380s are equipped with Engine Alliance GP7000 engines. They seat up to 516 passengers, including 389 in the economy class, 38 in premium economy, 80 in business, and nine in first.

The group said that it expected the financial impact of the early phase-out and the write-down to be around EUR500 million euros (USD550 million) which will be recorded in its second-quarter financial results.

Air France will replace the A380s with B787-9s and A350-900s. The A380s were used on routes from Paris CDG to Abidjan, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, Los Angeles Int'l, México City Int'l, Miami Int'l, New York JFK, Shanghai Pudong, and Washington Dulles.