Emirates stated today that it will receive three more A380 aircraft from Airbus this year with its last unit on order scheduled to join its fleet in November, bringing forward the original delivery timeline from June 2022.
In January last year, Airbus decided to add production capabilities by mid-2022 at the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse and will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernize the A320 production system. These deliveries will enable Airbus to complete its A321 Final Assembly Line perhaps earlier than expected. A380 MSN272 to be Emirates A6-EVS was the last to be assembled here and is now in Hamburg for cabin outfitting.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “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. These new aircraft will also add more highly sought-after Premium Economy seats into our inventory, as we prepare to fully launch this cabin product in the coming months.”
He added: “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.”
These deliveries will bring Emirates’ total fleet of A380s to 118 units in November, including six aircraft equipped with Premium Economy seats in a 4-class configuration. Until April, Emirates has retired five A380s from the first batch that were delivered from 2007. The carrier originally planned to have ordered 162 A380s in total but swapped the doubledecker for 50 A350-900s, announced at the 2019 Dubai Airshow.
As travel restrictions ease with the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, come October, Emirates will have reinstated A380 operations on over a dozen popular routes between Dubai and: Amman, Cairo, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Toronto, Vienna, Washington DC, and Zurich. From October 31, Amsterdam will be back too on the A380 roster.
Etihad Airways CEO said in the past that he doesn’t see the return of the Airbus A380, but now it hasn’t been entirely ruled out. Etihad Airways has ten A380s, none of them are in service and are parked across Europe. Now there seems to be a slight chance to see the ten A380s from Etihad return to the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s fleet.
This clearly means that it is not the end of the A380 era – at least in terms of flying.