- Emirates is celebrating 15 years of operating the Airbus A380 and currently has 90 in operation.
- Despite the initial struggles of the A380 during the pandemic, it has made a successful comeback, with several airlines deploying the aircraft on major routes.
- The A380 will continue to be an important part of Emirates’ fleet for years to come, with newer units expected to remain in service until the late 2030s or early 2040s.
Emirates has been celebrating 15 years since it first received the Airbus A380 this summer. The Dubai-based carrier has become synonymous with the superjumbo, and the relationship between the two aviation powerhouses isn’t ending anytime soon.
Ups and downs
The first A380 to join the carrier’s fleet was registration A6-EDA, arriving in the UAE in July 2008. Even though this unit is no longer in the airline’s holdings, the carrier still holds a whopping 119 examples of the type. Moreover, 90 of these planes are currently in operation.
It looked like doom and gloom for the A380 during the dark days of the pandemic lockdowns. At one point, there were no A380s flying. The early days of COVID also spurred certain carriers to catalyze the retirement of their units.
In a twist of fate, the A380 has made a triumphant return across the continents. The aircraft has risen from the ashes in this period of aviation recovery, with British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Etihad all deploying the type well. Moreover, just this week, Lufthansa shared that it is committing to more A380 reactivations, with eight units in total set to be operated by the German carrier.
Emirates didn’t lose faith in the widebody. Thus, it is now seeing the rewards of its commitment.
Relishing its role
Highlighting the colorful journey of the A380, Richard Jewsbury, Divisional Vice President for the UK at Emirates, told Simple Flying that It feels like yesterday since the airline was excited about the plane’s launch and was eagerly awaiting for them to arrive from Berlin. Despite a decade and a half passing, the operator is just as ecstatic now as it was back then, especially with the quadjet performing well on key routes.
“It’s an iconic aircraft. Customers absolutely love it. They go out of their way to fly on it. People enjoy the experience, but also enjoy seeing it in the sky as well. It’s just wonderful to see it fly and prosper. Certainly from a UK perspective, it’s really important to us,
“At the moment, we’re carrying about 120,000 passengers a week into and out of the UK, and about 80% of those customers are flying on A380. It’s super important for the UK market. Therefore, it makes me very happy to have the aircraft here. We’ve got about 90 in service at the moment, flying to 50 destinations around our global network.”
Here to stay
The A380 currently partners with the 777 across Emirates’ network. Moreover, the airline is anticipating 50 A350s to start arriving next year before the 777X is finally delivered in the middle of the decade.
Despite modern fuel-efficient twinjets joining the fold, the A380 will remain in business for Emirates for years to come. The older units that will remain are expected to start making way in the early 2030s, but some fresh faces will stick around.
“We had the first one delivered in 2008. However, we took delivery of our last A380 in December 2021. That’s just around 18 months old. So, the more recently delivered aircraft are going to be around for a while. It’s going to be the late 2030s, maybe early 2040s, before we wave goodbye to the last A380, They’re going to be here for the foreseeable future.”
The luxury found on board the double-decker has been praised by numerous passengers, while the sheer size of the plane makes it a head-turning sight for aviation enthusiasts far and wide. The Boeing 747 may be a rarity concerning commercial passenger service, but its quadjet counterpart will remain a force for another decade or two.
What are your thoughts about the Airbus A380? What do you make of the aircraft’s prospects? Let us know what you think in the comment section.