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Airlines Are Scrapping Airbus 380s For Souvenirs

The then-new Airbus A380 superjumbo passenger jet sits on the tarmac of the Airbus plant in Hamburg on October 30, 2009 as the French flag carrier Air France was due later in the day to become the first European airline to take delivery of the plane in a ceremony in the northern German city before flying to Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

Photo: Eric Piermont / AFP (Getty Images)

Air France and Emirates have started selling bag tags made for the skin of their first Airbus A380s. The double-decker airliners built early during the aircraft’s production run are reaching the end of their service lives. It would be easy to assume that a plane as significant as the world’s largest passenger airliner ever would be headed to a museum, but that won’t be the case.

Air France retired and scrapped its first Airbus A380 back in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The French flag carrier decided to retire its entire fleet of Airbus A380s amid the decline in air travel demand. While most of the jumbo jets were placed in storage, the oldest aircraft was already near the end of its service life so the airline scrapped the A380. Air France took delivery of the initial A380 in 2008 and racked up 41,725 flight hours on the airframe.

Simple Flying reported the bag tags are being manufactured and sold by the German company Aviationtag for $42.27 each. This Air France A380 is the sixth of Airbus’ double-decker planes to have its skin turned into tags. The first Emirates A380 was scrapped and its skin bag tags became available for sale earlier this month. The four other A380s turned into tags were retired Singapore Airlines aircraft.

While one of the Airbus A380 test planes is on display at the National Air and Space Museum of France at Paris-Le Bourget Airport, it’s surprising that Air France’s first A380 couldn’t find a home in a museum. Alongside Concorde, the Airbus A380 is the most famous aircraft used by France’s national airline. Emirates built its entire airline around the A380, constructing an entire terminal in Dubai to accommodate its fleet of behemoths. Being able to purchase a commemorative bag tag doesn’t quite match seeing the historically significant aircraft preserved.


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