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15 Years Of Operations: 10 Fun Facts About Emirates' Airbus A380 Fleet


  • Emirates has played a crucial role in the success of the Airbus A380 program, with 119 of the aircraft in its fleet.
  • The airline’s A380s offer luxurious amenities, such as first-class suites, an onboard lounge, and shower spas.
  • Emirates is currently undertaking a $2 billion overhaul of its A380 fleet, including the addition of a premium economy cabin and a refresh of other cabin classes.

This year, Emirates is celebrating 15 years of Airbus A380 operations. The airline took delivery of its first superjumbo in 2008, and since then, it has become the driving force behind the A380’s success. In fact, with 119 of the aircraft in its fleet, Emirates could be credited with single-handedly keeping the A380 program afloat.

Emirates’s A380s feature a variety of different seating configurations, with total capacity ranging from 484 on the aircraft equipped with a premium economy cabin to 615 on the more densely packed A380s. Earlier this year, the airline revealed plans to fly its A380s to a staggering 48 destinations this summer, including a return to Glasgow (GLA), Taipei (TPE), and Casablanca (CMN) for the first time since the pandemic.

To mark the 15-year anniversary of Emirates’ first A380 flight, here are ten facts about the airline’s A380 fleet:

10 First class luxury

All but the most economy class-heavy of Emirates’ A380s contain 14 first class suites. Featuring an exclusive onboard lounge, fully-enclosed private suites, and high-end dining options, the first class cabins on the airline’s A380s offer an ultra-luxurious experience for those lucky enough to be traveling in them.

Emirates A380 shower spa

Photo: Emirates

First class passengers can also enjoy the unique experience of taking a shower at 35,000 ft in the A380’s shower spa, and slots of up to 30 minutes can be booked in advance.

9 Impressive size and capacity

The A380 is the largest passenger aircraft ever made, eclipsing even the Boeing 747, with each aircraft containing more than 5,920 square feet of usable floor space across its two decks. In the most densely packed layout, Emirates’ A380s can carry up to 615 passengers, and depending on the configuration, up to 24 crew members operate on each A380.

8 Space for bags too

The Emirates A380 is capable of carrying up to 22 tons of baggage. The aircraft’s vast cargo capacity makes it ideal for carrying cargo such as luxury goods, food, fresh flowers, and pharmaceuticals. The airline’s sizeable cargo operation is overseen by Emirates SkyCargo.

7 An expensive overhaul

The airline’s A380 fleet is currently in the midst of a $2 billion overhaul, which will see 67 of the aircraft equipped with the carrier’s popular premium economy cabin. Since the onboard offering was launched in August 2022, more than 160,000 passengers worldwide have traveled in premium economy.

Emirates premium economy seat

Photo: Emirates

As part of the ongoing overhaul, Emirates’ first, business, and economy class cabins on the A380 are getting a refresh too. Earlier this year, Emirates unveiled the first A380 to be painted in the airline’s new livery, revealing that it takes more than 4,000 liters of paint to cover the aircraft’s surface area of 38,000 square feet.

6 Wide wingspan

The A380’s wingspan measures an incredible 261 ft, which is the equivalent of 32 double-decker buses or an Olympic size swimming pool. But the aircraft is not only wide, the A380’s tailfin stands at 78 ft tall, the same height as five giraffes.

5 Reaching towering heights

With a cruising altitude of 43,100 ft, Emirates’ A380s can fly at more than 15 times the height of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which, coincidentally, is also located in Dubai. The aircraft has a range of over 8,000 nautical miles, meaning that it is capable of flying non-stop between Emirates’ hub at Dubai (DXB) and the likes of Sydney (SYD) and Los Angeles (LAX).

4 High-end gastronomy

Emirates employs a team of 1,800 chefs who create more than 12,000 recipes per year to cater to the carrier’s A380 passengers.

Emirates first class dining

Photo: Emirates

Emirates is also the only commercial airline in the world serving Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Pérignon onboard, with passengers in first class able to enjoy unlimited champagne and caviar throughout their flight.

3 Shortest and longest routes

Of Emirates’ 48 A380 routes this summer, the shortest is currently Dubai to Jeddah (JED), with a flight time of just under three hours each way. At the other end of the scale, the airline’s longest A380 route is Dubai to Auckland (AKL), which takes around 17 hours on average.

2 Equipped for power

Of the four million parts that make up each A380 are four Engine Alliance GP72000 engines. Together, the engines provide the aircraft with more than 290,000 lb of take-off thrust, which is the equivalent of around 2,600 cars at 110 hp. GP72000 engines were first produced back in April 2004 as part of a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

Emirates onboard lounge

Photo: Emirates

1 Soft landings

The A380’s landing gear system is made up of 22 wheels, each of which can support over 29 tons of weight (the aircraft’s total weight is in the region of 560-600 tons). The landing gear offers enhanced mobility to the aircraft, meaning that pilots are able to complete a 180-degree turn within a width of just 186 ft.

Find out more about the history of Emirates over the last 38 years with this report from the Simple Flying team.

Following years of rising fuel costs making quadjets more expensive to operate, many thought the pandemic would be the final nail in the coffin for the A380. While a number of airlines, such as Air France and Malaysia Airlines, have since removed their entire A380 fleets from service, others have carved out a niche for the superjet, and the aircraft seems to have made a miraculous comeback.

Emirates Airbus A380 new livery

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Of the 119 A380s in Emirates’ fleet, 88 are currently active, and the ongoing refurbishment of 67 of these will extend their working lives further. The airline’s refurbished A380s, featuring the new premium economy cabin, can be found operating to 11 cities over the coming months – London (LHR), Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL), Auckland (AKL), Christchurch (CHC), Singapore (SIN), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Houston (IAH), San Francisco (SFO), and Dubai (DXB). This number will rise further in October, when Mumbai (BOM) and Bengaluru (BLR) will be added to the list.

Have you flown on Emirates’ Airbus A380? Which routes were you traveling on? Have you tried the airline’s premium economy cabin? Share your experiences by commenting below.


  • Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate
    Emirates has been unable to fly to Nigeria, so local travelers have found other ways of getting to the UAE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Alvin Man – Simple Flying


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates


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