Emirates is to resurrect some of its Airbus A380 superjumbos after grounding the entire fleet in March because of the massive slump in travel demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, the first A380’s to return from storage will serve London Heathrow and Paris beginning July 15.
The Dubai-based airline is by far the largest operator of the doubledeck A380 but until now Emirates has been relying on its Boeing 777-300 fleet to operate a limited number of routes. The carrier is now flying to 40 destinations as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted. London and Paris were amongst the first cities that Emirates operated regularly scheduled flights after a government order grounded all flights.
Yesterday, the UAE’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced tourists would be allowed to return to Dubai beginning July 7. A major announcement from state-owned Emirates Airline was widely expected following the easing of border restrictions.
Tourists will need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate dated within four days of travel or undergo a test on arrival in Dubai in order to enter the emirate. Visitors will also need to submit a health declaration and download a contact tracing app. Passengers who test positive for the novel Coronavirus will ve forced into a government quarantine facility.
Sir Tim Clark, the soon to be retired president of Emirates and the mastermind behind the airline’s flagship A380 programme, has remained optimistic about the future of the aircraft. Sir Tim has, however, cautioned a rebound in air travel might rely on a vaccine for the virus being found.
Other airlines with much smaller A380 fleets are far less optimistic about the plane’s future potential. Air France has already decommissioned its entire A380 fleet, while Lufthansa will scrap half of its 14-strong fleet. The remaining A380’s might not return to the skies until 2022, if at all.
British Airways is still to reach a decision on the fate of its A380’s and Qatar Airways has no plans to use its superjumbos for at least two years.
Emirates has denied reports it is mulling plans to permanently decommission around 40 percent of its A380 fleet. The airline has, however, reportedly laid-off 600 A380 pilots in the last couple of weeks. The airline has 115 A380’a in its fleet.
According to updated service standard documents, the famous onboard lounge will be off limits when the A380 resumes services. The First Class showed spa will be closed for the foreseeable future.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.