Emirates has brought forward the delivery of its last-ever Airbus A380 superjumbo by more than six months, marking the end of an era for the production of the world’s largest commercial passenger jet and bringing the eventual demise of the double-deck aircraft slightly closer.
The Dubai-based airline wasn’t expected to take hold of the methodical keys to the final A380 ever to be produced until June 2022 but will now take delivery in November 2021 after securing the necessary financing for an early handover.
Emirates will receive three more A380’s between now and November, all of which will feature the A380’s signature outfitting including a First Class shower spa and an onboard bar and lounge. The remaining A380’s will also come with Emirates’ latest money maker – a Premium Economy cabin.
“We’ve come to an agreement with Airbus to bring forward the delivery of our remaining A380 orders and have secured financing for these units,” commented Sir Tim Clark, Emirates’ long-serving president said on Wednesday.
“Emirates will continue to be the largest operator of this spacious and modern aircraft for the next two decades, and we’re committed to ensuring that the Emirates A380 experience remains a customer favourite with ongoing investments to enhance our product and services,” Sir Tim continued.
Last May, Sir Tim declared that “the A380 is over” due to the upset caused to the travel industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates, however, denied speculation that the airline was considering retiring as much as 40 per cent of its A380 fleet due to the pandemic.
In the end, Sir Tim walked back his comments and the airline says it remains very much committed to the future of the A380, although production will come to an end and Emirates may need to cannibalise old A380’s for spare parts.
The final delivery in November will bring Emirates’ A380 fleet size up to 118 superjumbos – ensuring Emirates remains by far the largest operator of the aircraft type.
Despite being popular with customers, many airlines have struggled to make the A380 profitable. Regional competitors Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are unlikely ever to fly their A380’s but no final decision has yet been made.
That isn’t the case for Air France, however, which has already ridden itself of its superjumbo fleet and Lufthansa which has decided to retire its A380’s.
Last week, British Airways said it would keep its A380’s grounded until next year, while Qantas hopes its resume A380 flying back mid-2022 if Australia reopens its borders.
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.