‘You’ll never see a 747 flying again’: Coronavirus ‘is killing off big long-haul planes

The coronavirus pandemic could kill off large long-haul planes as the airline industry continues to be crippled by the worldwide lockdown, an expert warned today.

Airlines are expected to switch to flying fewer, smaller aircraft – with the infection said to have accelerated the demise of the world’s largest passenger planes.

These are the relatively new Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-400, the original jumbo jet – with Lufthansa already scrapping half of its versions of both models.

Aviation consultant Andrew Charlton told the Guardian: ‘You will never see a 747 flying again, and the only A380s will have Emirates painted on the side.’

The German carrier expects it will take several months for travel restrictions to be completely lifted and years until the global demand returns to pre-crisis levels. 

Airbus A380 planes cost £350million each, and there are 110 in service. Meanwhile the Boeing 747 comes in at about £190million per plane, with 356 in service.

Both the A380 and 737 were among the first to be grounded this year as demand fell, with business class seats left empty as firms turned to video-conferencing tools.