How does the national pride/PR play out with AF dropping the A380? Certainly, AF is not the typical A380 operator and symbolism is higher in the land where it was built.
It is just my view here but I don't feel any sense of pride with regards to Air France and the A380, for the following reasons:
- The product while probably attractive in the early years, is now really out-dated on AF's A380s, little investment was made to improve it
- AF rarely if at all did advertising promoting the A380, I am just a regular passenger but I've seen more commercials from EK, EY with their flagship product on the A380 than AF on theirs
- The fleet was deployed on the best possible markets according to demand in particular premium, meaning national pride was not a factor in AF choosing to deploy A380 to a particular route for political reasons
Deciding to retire the fleet in my view is purely driven by financial numbers, given the program is already no longer accepting orders there would really be no political reason to maintain a loss making fleet operating if the numbers show this is the best solution for AF.