The sole operator of the Airbus A380 in China, China Southern Airlines (ZNH), may retire its fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft by the end of 2022, Chinese media outlet Sohu.com has reported, citing sources from inside the company. 

AeroTime has asked China Southern Airlines (ZNH) for a comment.  

The airline currently has five A380s in its fleet. Flightradar24.com tracking data shows that three of the carrier’s A380s (registration B-6140, B6139, and B-6138) have been in recent service, operating from Guangzhou to cities in Australia, Europe, and the United States. 

This is not the first time that China Southern has hinted at the widebody retirement. In 2021, China Southern Airlines’ (ZNH) senior vice president, Guoxiang Wu, indicated that the fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft might be retired due to high operational costs and uncertain international travel recovery.  

“The largest aircraft in our fleet, such as Airbus A380, is still under our consideration on how we can solve this problem,” Guoxiang Wu said during the CAPA Live event on April 14, 2021. 

Wu added: “Not only for China Southern but also for many airlines, we must be thinking about the A380 and whether it's too large for the routes.” 

Airbus delivered the first Airbus A380 to China Southern Airlines (ZNH) in October 2011. Thus, the airline became the world’s seventh - and China’s first - Super Jumbo operator. 

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China Southern Airlines is reviewing its Airbus A380 fleet future amid low demand in international air travel.