The end of the Airbus A380 program is drawing ever closer for Airbus after the manufacturer delivered another of its giants to Dubai-based carrier Emirates. A6-EVQ made its migration south-east to Dubai from Airbus’ Hamburg Finkenwerder plant on Thursday, moving the Airbus A380 program one step closer to closure.
The Airbus A380 is a marvel of engineering. However, it seems to have been a jet released to the world at just the wrong time. Many airlines are already retiring the giant after a decade or less in service. Despite this, a handful of carriers remain committed to the giant, including Middle East giant Emirates.
Another A380 delivery
Late last week, Emirates took delivery of its third A380 of 2021 and also its third from last A380 on order. On Thursday at 17:52, A6-EVQ departed Airbus’ Hamburg Finkenwerker plant, according to data from RadarBox.com. The aircraft flew west to skirt into UK airspace before turning around and heading for its new home in Dubai.
Touching UK airspace may have had something to do with the aircraft’s delivery or registration legal requirements. A year ago, Simple Flying reported that Airbus had delivered an A220 from France to Egypt via the UK. In the case of the Egyptair A220, a strange legal quirk meant it hadn’t been delivered without flying through UK airspace.
Having turned around, the aircraft flew non-stop to Dubai, where it landed at 02:28 on Friday morning, becoming the 121st A380 to join the Emirates fleet. The aircraft is the fourth to join the Emirates fleet with the airline’s new premium economy cabin, the reason that the airline had expedited its Airbus A380 delivery timeline.
Just two Airbus A380s left
To date, Airbus has delivered 249 A380s to 14 operators. A 15th second-hand operator took a single aircraft that it has now disposed of. With 151 A380s ordered by the time Airbus shut the order book for the last time in February 2019, just two A380s are now left to be delivered.
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Both outstanding A380s are set to go to Emirates, with the final delivery planned for this year. Emirates had intended to take delivery of its last double-decker giant next month. However, it was recently reported that this had slipped to December.
While Airbus has wrapped up production of the giant of the skies, it will continue to support the global fleet with spare parts and such for years to come. It’s not clear when the A380 will leave the skies for good, but it’s unlikely to be soon. British Airways has signed maintenance contracts for its fleet through 2027.
Meanwhile, Emirates has made it clear in the past that it won’t retire the A380 before the mid-2030s. Before the airline begins taking its Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 orders, it isn’t practical for the Middle Eastern giant to retire the jet. The Airbus A380 makes up over 56% of the airline’s total capacity by number of seats.
What do you make of the Airbus A380 program edging ever closer to closure? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!