Oops: British Airways A380 Crushes Taxiway

Filed Under: British Airways

Airlines around the world are storing their planes. In some cases runways at major airports are being closed and are being used at parking lots, while in other cases airlines are parking planes at smaller airports.

Well, the way a British Airways A380 was parked is making headlines, and this comes only shortly after a British Airways A350 and Emirates 777 collided in Dubai.

British Airways parking A380s in Chateauroux

British Airways has a fleet of a dozen Airbus A380s, and they’re in the process of parking these planes in Chateauroux, France. Unlike some other airlines, British Airways doesn’t have plans to retire these immediately, at least as of now.

The airport doesn’t have regularly scheduled commercial flights, though it does have some charter passenger and cargo flights. Now the airport is being used to store British Airways A380s, given that it has a runway of over 11,500 feet, and it’s also a few hundred miles from Heathrow.

It’s pretty cool to see the footage of how these A380s are all being parked next to one another on a taxiway, at an angle.

Interestingly this isn’t the first time the airline has used the airport — British Airways also uses the airport for flight training, so you can find pictures and videos of all kinds of British Airways aircraft taking off and landing at the airport.

British Airways A380 crushes taxiway

Yesterday (April 15) a British Airways A380 with the registration code G-XLED arrived at Chateauroux after a 58 minute flight from Heathrow. The plane was being parked when it completely tore apart the concrete along the edge of the taxiway.


It’s not known exactly which wheels caused this, and also whether the plane was being controlled from the cockpit, or by a tug.

Apparently there was a misunderstanding as to whether or not the outer area of the taxiway could be used. Clearly it can’t sustain the weight, and that was the problem. However, given the massive plane and tight turns required to park it, I can totally see how this happened.

I’m still not sure if the nose gear caused the damage, or if it was the left rear set of wheels.

Bottom line

British Airways is parking their Airbus A380s in Chateauroux, France. One of the most recent A380s to land there didn’t taxi in the right area, causing significant damage to the taxiway.

This is a reminder of just how heavy planes are, to the point that they can quite literally crush concrete if not taxiing in the correct areas. The A380 has an empty weight of just under 600K pounds.

(Tip of the hat to You Have Been Upgraded)

  1. “The A380 has an empty weight of just under 600K pounds.”

    As a former A380 engineer the usage of pounds to measure the weight bothers me, please use metric tons! (The heaviest weight variant has a MZFW of 373t)

  2. So: the UK is storing planes in France, flying in east Europeans to pick its harvest and accepting medical supply donations from Turkey. Not sure what the Brexit voters thought would happen!

  3. @Anthony Thomas
    All these points are exactly the reason why Brexit happened: People want to be self-reliant. They don’t want to be dependent on other countries.
    If you take a close look, the UK has left the EU on paper, but basically all rules are still in effect till at least 31st December 2020. Only after that date you will be able to start seeing the positive impact of Brexit.

  4. “The heaviest weight variant has a MZFW of 373t”

    As a current lover of the proper uses of prefixes in the SI system, the usage of metric tons to measure the weight bothers me, please use megagrams! (The heaviest weight variant has an MZFW of 373 Mg)

  5. The weight of an aircraft is not really the issue, but rather the way that weight is distributed over the ground. ICAO has the PCN/ACN system which provides a standard way to determine whether a particular aircraft type is safe to operate at a particular airport.

    In simple terms, all aircraft are assigned a value called an “ACN” (Aircraft Classification Number). The ACN determines the relative loading value of the aircraft weight spread out over the landing gear and varies depending upon factors such as the load on board, etc..

    Conversely, every airport is assigned a value called the “PCN” (Pavement Classification Number) which represents the “load carrying capacity of the pavement for unrestricted operation”. The PCN is a little more complex as it can vary over different parts of the airport (viz. the runway may have a higher PCN than a taxiway or a parking apron) and is not just a numeric value but is further clarified by flex/rigid pavement (F/R), subgrade type (A to D), tyre pressure limit (W to Z) and methodology (T – Technical Evaluation or U – Usage Observation).

    However, to keep it simple, if the ACN > PCN for a specific condition, you should be safe to operate the aircraft there.

  6. Wondering what the other planes in the background are, seems there is quite a fleet. Colour might suggest something like Hainan Airways or HK Airlines, but I cannot see precisely.

    Also why why would Hainan park planes in Chateauroux ? They could always be seized pending compensation from Chinese for stopping the World (or opening WW3 without firing a shot) but since it seems they have already won it, compensation is unlikely. The value of used planes (or new) in such a depressed market would anyway not be much.

  7. @ Anthony

    Not many British people have a clue that BA is owed by a Spanish based company and that the Chief Exec is also Spanish who replaced an Irishman.

    Just like they have no idea that supposed British brands / stores like Boots the Chemist, Harrods and the supermarket ASDA are also foreign owned

  8. The taxiway wasn’t crushed… that’s definitely the shoulder of the taxiway which no airliner should ever have wheels on. Notice the taxiway edge light that was almost mowed down?

  9. The A380 is as dead as a dodo. Poor Emirates with their all their abortions that guzzle gas like mad. How do they compete. The A380 has always been outdated even when it first went into service. Does anyone remember the Airbus super salesman who used to always say 4 engines are better than 2. I think he’s in the Neanderthal Museum. Does anyone believe that Airbus made back it’s investment. Ask the last 4 Presidents of France!!! LOL!!!!

  10. @Peter Brown
    Neither did they on Concorde. Both planes technologically innovative. The A380 has more than 380 patents within its construction.

    Yes it was made for hub and spoke operation, which, at the time was the way to go to reduce slots and traffic at major airports. Then, with longer ranges of nearly all new aircraft came the ability to fly non stop.

    But the A380 concept was still good.

    And is probably the quietest, and smoothest plane to fly. I shall be very sad to see its demise.

    Can anyone here explain to me why the holiday charter business for it never took off. there were rumours at the sale time of 700-800 all economy pax. Seems a real money spinner to me. So why not? (or maybe now, as it seems there will be a huge second hand market, it may still happen)

  11. @Pierre
    Those HK Airlines are parked there because HX (and HU) are in big financial troubles so they can’t make the final payment and get their plane back home. Since it is quite obvious that they can’t afford this payment in at least the short future, Airbus send them here for storage. (I saw one or two HX’s A330 parked in TLS Nov last year, not sure if those are the ones sent here.)

  12. A380’s are beautiful, comfortable and quiet to ride. They are also at the lower bounds of acceptable fleet reliability. They require more man-hours on the ground and are less able to meet a schedule than anything short of a museum relic. Everyone hoped the situation would improve, that dash-roll revision of all systems would eke out better numbers; but sometimes the problems begin with the planning. A380’s have certain engrained neediness, like NASA’s Space Shuttles, for endless prep and second tries at takeoffs. I myself hope they get to be museum pieces like the Shuttles, but most operators will opt to shred theirs not enshrine them. Businessman can be … grumpy about liabilities.

  13. Max – complete and utter rubbish. It has absolutely nothing to do with self-reliance, as demonstrated by the vast majority of them taking absolutely no interest in where their food and other products come from (the UK doesn’t make absolutely everything, but if you genuinely hold that belief you could predominantly live off British produced goods only without much additional effort).

    The aim of Brexit is to get rid of foreigners and stop foreigners having any say on what the UK does. Anyone who claims otherwise are most likely lying or stupid.

  14. @AlexS – Fuel is priced by the liter and consumed by the kg. Both are metric. Not sure what your point is. Although anyone who has been around the industry for a while should know what 3.7854 and 2.2046 represent.

  15. The shredded part of the taxiway looks a whole lot more like asphalt than it does concrete, with a much lighter load capability. You civils out there should know that!

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