(CNN) — The post-pandemic recovery of commercial aviation may have an early, unlikely protagonist: the A380 superjumbo.

The world’s largest passenger plane seemed to be on the scrapheap just two years ago, as airlines grappled with the spread of the coronavirus. The entire fleet was grounded, many of the planes went into long-term storage, and some airlines even took the chance to get rid of their A380s altogether, with Air France retiring its fleet in May 2020.
But now, as passenger numbers rise and air traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, the plane is enjoying a resurgence. More than half the global fleet is already back into service, according to data from Flightradar24.
Emirates has the world's largest fleet of A380s.

Emirates has the world’s largest fleet of A380s.

PASCAL PAVANI/AFP via Getty Images

Lufthansa was the latest carrier to announce the plane’s return — although not before 2023 — and there are reasons to believe that more A380s will progressively soar back into the skies.

“It’s definitely having a comeback,” says Geoff Van Klaveren, an aviation analyst and managing director of advisory at IBA. “Operators were quite reluctant to bring it back because it’s a very costly airplane, but I think we’ve seen demand recovering faster than people expected.”

More coming back

Airbus produced and delivered 251 A380s, and 238 remain available for service today, with the rest having been retired or scrapped. The plane, which is no longer in production, is popular with passengers and crews but not with airlines — only 14 have operated it to date.

Out of those, nine are currently flying it: British Airways, All Nippon Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Asiana, Korean Air and China Southern Airlines. Some of these already have plans to press even more of their A380s back into service.

Singapore Airlines, for example, is currently flying

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