Last Of 6 BA A380s Returns To Madrid After Routine Maintenance

The last of six British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft has returned to Madrid following routine maintenance. The six aircraft being stored in the Spanish capital have been rotated to Heathrow over the past few months to keep their maintenance up to date in line with schedules.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Doha
British Airways has completed a two-month-long cycle of Airbus A380 maintenance. Photo: Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic created an interesting situation for many carriers. Vast swathes of the global aircraft fleet were grounded. As such, carriers had to decide what to do with these planes. Aircraft that haven’t been placed into a state of deep, long-term storage need to continue to be maintained following schedules.

All six Madrid based A380s maintained

All six of the British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft resting their wings in Madrid have now undergone maintenance at their London Heathrow home. G-XLEF was the first of the six to fly to Heathrow, departing Madrid on February 23rd. Meanwhile, most recently, G-XLEH departed Madrid last week, returning earlier this morning. The complete list of movements are as follows,

G-XLEF 23/02 09/03
G-XLEG 02/03 09/03
G-XLEI 09/03 16/03
G-XLEL 16/03 23/03
G-XLEK 30/03 06/04
G-XLEH 13/04 19/04

Having undergone maintenance over the weekend, G-XLEH departed London Heathrow Airport at 09:31 this morning. The giant jet climbed to an altitude of 39,000 feet to go back to the Spanish capital, home to the airline’s sister airline, Iberia.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Maintenance
G-XLEH flew back to Madrid’s Barajas Airport this morning. Photo:

The flight back to Madrid was mainly over water, including a hop across the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. Following a flight that took one hour and 48 minutes, the jet landed back in Madrid at 12:19. The airline will place it back into storage until it is needed by the airline or requires its next maintenance dose.

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What about the other BA Airbus A380s?

British Airways has a total of 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. So where are the six that aren’t in Madrid. They are split across two locations, with half still in Spain. Last week the airline’s CEO revealed that he remains committed to his A380 fleet.

British Airways’ first three Airbus A380s, G-XLEA, XLEB, and XLEC, have been sent to Teruel in Spain. This is a long-term storage facility, also being used to store Lufthansa and Air France A380s. These will likely be the last A380s to return to the British Airways fleet. However, if the British flag carrier does decide to retire any aircraft, these would be the obvious choice as Teruel is equipped to dismantle retired aircraft.

BA A380
British Airways remains committed to its Airbus A380 fleet. Photo: Getty Images.

The remaining three jets, G-XELD, G-XLEE, and G-XLEJ, have all been ferried out to Doha in Qatar. Here they are resting alongside the Qatar Airways A380 fleet. While BA flies its A380s to Manila for heavy maintenance, it wouldn’t make sense to fly the jets over 3,000 miles for the smaller maintenance tasks currently required. As such, Qatar Airways’ A380 mechanics are likely taking care of the jets. Qatar Airways is one of British Airways’ partner airlines and even owns a share in BA’s parent company.

What do you make of the British Airways Airbus A380 maintenance cycle? Let us know what you think and why in the comments.


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