Air France has a total of 10 Airbus A380s in their fleet. The airline hasn’t really loved the plane, as seems to be the case for just about all airlines except Emirates. Air France actually initially had 12 Airbus A380s on order, but they ended up converting two of the orders, which shows you just how much the plane hasn’t worked out for them.
Previously the plan was that Air France would start retrofitting the A380s with new cabins in 2020, though the new management team was apparently reconsidering that, given the cost of doing so. This brought into question whether Air France would just retire their A380s sooner. We now have our answer.
Air France will gradually retire five of their 10 Airbus A380s; it just so happens that five of their A380s are leased, so those will be returned gradually, starting in late 2019, when two of the leases are up
Air France will then reconfigure the remaining five A380s starting in late 2020, which will cost roughly 45 million Euros per aircraft, which is insanely expensive; so the airline will spend 225 million Euros updating those five planes
It seems logical for the airline to retire five of these planes, though it is a bit disappointing that Air France will be waiting another two years before reconfiguring the remaining aircraft, given how outdated the cabins are.
The operating costs are too high, especially in comparison to the 777-300ER, which they otherwise use for many of their flagship longhaul routes
These planes are really expensive to reconfigure, which made it difficult for them to do anything to improve the onboard product
The A380 simply hasn’t panned out the way most airlines were hoping. It’s not worth it for them to renew the leases on these planes (which means there will be even more A380s on the secondhand market), while they might as well invest the money to reconfigure the planes they own with the new cabins.