Fund investors are turning the A380 into a spare parts store

More and more used giant planes find no buyers and are dismantled into individual parts. Investors have the final say.

Still in the service of Air France: But the French airline is gradually saying goodbye to its A380

GIt is not uncommon for large passenger planes to fly for a quarter of a century or more if they are well maintained and not too badly damaged by accidents. First of all, they often do this for first-class airlines until they are retired and find new use there in the second or third row.

But you have to get used to the fact that giants of the sky like the four-engine wide-body aircraft Airbus A380 are withdrawn from service in their prime and have to serve as a mere spare parts store for others. But this is exactly what happens more and more often.

Two A380s were already dismantled into their individual parts in the previous year because no suitable buyer could be found on the used market – be it as a buyer or as a lessee. These jets had previously been on the road for ten years for the A380 first customer Singapore Airlines and were funded by closed funds from Dr. Peters Group (DS 129 and 130). Now a third A380 could also face the fate of dismantling. This plane was in the service of Air France for a long time.

Two Air France planes are returning

The French airline had also bought it from the fund company Dr. Peters rented. This is about Fund DS 135 and around 3000 investors and 69 million euros. The future of another A380, which also comes from the Air France fleet and according to the leasing contract to Dr. Peters is falling behind is still unclear (fund DS 136 with 3000 investors, 69 million euros volume). Disassembly would also be conceivable here.

The prerequisite for the dismantling of the first Air France A380 – it is expected back in mid-February – is that the fund investors concerned submit to a corresponding proposal from Dr. Peters agree, as the FAZ has learned. A “decision to sell stocks” has to be made. In short: The fund investors decide whether the aircraft can be dismantled and the individual parts sold (“Part Out”); other options are still possible. A three-quarters majority of the shareholders is required to pass such a resolution. If this does not materialize, a new lessee might have to be found.

Letter to the fund owner

The letter to the shareholders inviting them to the meeting on February 4th in Dortmund was sent a week ago. Regardless of the extremely difficult framework conditions for marketing used A380s, it was possible to agree an economically sensible solution with Air France for the aircraft of the fund, it says there. In the summer of 2019, the French airline announced that it would take all A380s out of flight operations by 2022.

Major A380 customer Emirates
Major A380 customer Emirates: Image: dpa

After even major customer Emirates had shown less and less interest, the misery of the end of production announced by Airbus in February became even more apparent. Airlines are now primarily using modern and more efficient twin-engine aircraft such as the A350 on long-haul routes, the A380’s flagship discipline. Boeing 777 and 787 (“Dreamliner”)

Despite all efforts, it has not yet been possible to “rent the aircraft to someone else,” the letter said. The alternative agreed with Air France is all the more positive. Instead of “carrying out the overhauls normally necessary for a return delivery of a leased aircraft, as agreed,” Air France will make a compensation payment and also rent the aircraft’s engines. This income and the payments made so far result in the necessary liquidity to ensure full capital preservation. In order to “achieve the best possible result from the residual value of the aircraft”, a decision to sell stocks is necessary.