Emirates is once again flying its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo with the first commercial flight of the airline’s iconic aircraft in four months departing Dubai at 8:12 am on Wednesday morning en route to London Heathrow (LHR). Less than an hour later, a second A380 soared over Dubai headed for Paris Charles de Gaulle.
All of Emirates’ A380’s had been grounded since March 25 when government officials banned airlines in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from operating flights as part of lockdown restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. When Emirates was eventually given permission to start flying again, the airline initially decided to keep the A380 grounded and only operate its smaller Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
Since then, there has been much debate over whether Emirates will have enough demand to justify operating the Airbus A380. In May, Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark told local newspaper The National that the A380 “is over” and instead suggested smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boing 787 Dreamliner would be the future for the airline.
Shortly after that revelation, sources claimed Emirates was considering permanently decommissioning up to 40 per cent of its A380 fleet. Emirates moved to quickly shut down that rumour, denying any decisions over the future of the fleet had been made.
But just a couple of weeks later, 600 Airbus A380 pilots were laid off.
Sir Tim, however, has sounded far more optimistic about the future of the A380 in recent weeks. Earlier this month, he even claimed all of the airline’s A380’s would be flying by April 2022. Emirates is by far the largest operator of the A380, with a total of 116 superjumbos in its fleet.
“The A380 remains a popular aircraft amongst our customers and it offers many unique onboard features,” explained Emirates chief operating officer, Adel Al Redha. “We are looking forward to gradually introduce our A380 into more destinations according to the travel demand on specific destinations,” he continued.
For now, though, A380 service has only been announced on Emirates’ flagship routes to London Heathrow and Paris.
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.