Air France plans to use an A380 on its Paris-London service in Jun-2010 to train flight attendants before it accepts delivery of its fourth A380 in Aug-2010 (AFP, 11-May-2010).
Air France to use A380 on Paris-London service in Jun-2010
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Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.
Geopolitics defines much of Europe’s Uncertain outlook in 2017
Europe faces a growing range of geopolitical risks and uncertainties. These range from the presidential election in France and the federal elections in Germany to the UK’s (only) likely triggering of the formal process of leaving the European Union. Political instability in Italy and a general feeling of a move to populist politics raise a tendency towards protectionism and resistance to some of the core principles of the European Union.
They also include possible shifts in Russia’s relationship with the west under a Trump administration in the US. Indeed, Mr Trump’s presidency also raises questions over Europe’s own relationship with the US, notably his attitude towards free trade and to NATO.
The threat of terrorist activity remains real in Western Europe, where both Belgium and France were targeted in 2016. Turkey also suffered from frequent terrorist outrages and an attempted coup in 2016.
The civil war in Syria and an unstable political backdrop in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa have drawn in a number of European nations to a greater or lesser extent and contributed to an influx of refugees across Europe. The refugee crisis has fuelled wider concerns about immigration, adding to a climate of political anxiety.
Within Europe’s airline industry, lower fuel prices have provided a breathing space for the less efficient legacy airlines, but independent LCCs, long and short haul have meanwhile taken renewed strides to dominate across the market. Lufthansa and, in particular, Air France are serious laggards and enter 2017 under a dark cloud.