(Adds detail, other A380 fleets)
April 14 (Reuters) - China Southern Airlines is reviewing the future of the five Airbus A380 superjumbos in its fleet, an executive said on Wednesday, at a time when many carriers are retiring the jets early because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only for China Southern but also for many airlines we must be thinking about the A380,” China Southern Senior Vice President International and Corporate Relations Wu Guoxiang said at a CAPA Centre for Aviation event.
“Maybe it is too large for the route and its operation cost is very high. It is still in our consideration how we solve this problem.”
China Southern is the only Chinese A380 operator and is running only 10% of its overall pre-pandemic international capacity because of border restrictions, Wu said.
Germany’s Lufthansa, Air France and Thai Airways have announced plans to retire their A380 fleets permanently since the pandemic hammered international travel demand.
Others, such as Australia’s Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines, have grounded their A380 fleets temporarily until demand returns.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the airline expected to resume flying all 12 of its A380s eventually. The aircraft are currently being stored in the desert in California.
“Once demand is there, they’re going to be good aircraft and get back in the air,” he said earlier at the CAPA event. (Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney Editing by David Goodman)