Last year saw a seismic change in the aviation industry, as the Coronavirus spread across the world like wildfire. The shift in aircraft needs has been incoming for a number of years, with more emphasis on aircraft having longer range and better fuel efficiency. This shift however has been accelerated by the pandemic, and as a result, there have been some casualties.
If you asked any person to name an iconic passenger aircraft, whether they’re interested in aviation or not, the chances are they’re going to give you one of two answers. Concorde or the Jumbo Jet. As we know, Concorde has been retired for nearly 20 years - a staggering thought on its own. The Jumbo Jet however has seen a gradual decline since the popularity of aircraft such as the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350 has increased.
This decline increased substantially as the COVID pandemic hit, with a number of airlines storing or even scrapping the former “Queen Of The Skies”. Whilst incredibly sad, the fact is this day was always going to come. The 747 isn’t the only large aircraft to succumb to the cutter's torch. The Airbus A380 has also suffered the same fate, with nearly all flying examples withdrawn and only a handful of airlines announcing they intend to continue to fly the double decker in the future.
The fate of the A380 has been undecided for a number of years. Their size means the airports they can land at and be serviced is extremely limited. Airbus’ intention was that airports would upgrade their facilities to accommodate the huge airliner, but this has seldom been the case, with only a few major airports having to make minor changes to infrastructure. It has since come to light that the second hand market for the A380 as full aircraft, is almost nonexistent, with the demand instead lying in spare parts carrying significant value.
It would be reasonable to expect that as more of these gargantuan aircraft are cut up, companies like Aviationtag, Plane Tags and Tailfins will continue to add these to their product ranges. The 747 has had a number of releases from various manufacturers, however the stage is set for more A380 merchandise to come to light.
Whilst it kills me to see these beasts cut up, we should be thankful that companies exist to keep the memories of these aircraft alive, even if it is just by doing something simple like owning a small piece of it.