Dubai International Airport (DXB) based-Emirates will temporarily return one of its massive Airbus A380s to Flughafen Frankfurt am Main (FRA) in May. Unlike other airlines that grounded the A380 following restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gulf carrier has continued to operate A380s on some high-traffic routes.
Frankfurt Airport was once a safe bet for plane spotters hoping to get a glimpse of the world’s largest passenger aircraft. German national flag carrier Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Asiana, and Korean Air all operated A380 flights to Germany’s largest airport.
COVID-19 hurt the Airbus A380
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, this all changed as passenger numbers plummeted. With the demand for seats having fallen off a cliff, airline bosses looked at the viability of operating large four-engined aircraft. Since March of 2020, the only Airbus A380 flights out of Frankfurt have been Lufthansa jets departing for storage in Teruel, Spain.
Of its fleet of 14 Airbus A380s, six are scheduled to retire, with the other eight listed as being stored. With COVID-19 and Lufthansa looking to cut its carbon emissions, it will not be surprising to see the German airline not bringing the A380 back into service.
Emirates sees a role for the A380
As the world’s largest Airbus A380 airline with 117 planes, Emirates still sees a role for the aircraft at airports where slots are restricted. During an exclusive webinar hosted by Simple Flying Emirates, President Sir Tim Clark said:
“It stands testament to the quality of the A380 because Heathrow slots are restricted, Hong Kong slots are restricted, every single major hub is restricted on slots. So, if you want to put a 787 in there to a Heathrow slot where you could put a 517 seater A380, it doesn’t take long to get to the maths on that. If you can put six in there a day, it just tells you what the power of that airplane is. So, we do follow the frequency argument, but with large airplanes, which is why people have felt fairly challenged by what we would do.”
Currently, Emirates operates two flights per day between DXB and FRA but has been using one of its Boeing 777-300ERs for the close to seven-hour flight. This, however, is about to change, albeit perhaps for just a short time with German aviation website aero.de saying that a spokesperson for Emirates told them the following:
“Emirates can confirm that the flight rotation EK47 / EK48 between Dubai and Frankfurt will be carried out temporarily – between May 1 and 16, 2021 – with the Airbus A380.”
The A380 will return to Munich in July
Munich International Airport (MUC) saw the return of an Emirates A380 over the Easter holidays before Emirates once more went back to Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. By summer, this will change again, with the A380 scheduled to be on the route starting from July 1.
Sadly while we all loved the A380, the writing is already on the wall just as it is for all four-engined powered jet aircraft. Reducing CO2 emissions is the name of the game right now.
Are you happy to see Emirates keep its A380s flying? Please tell us what you think in the comments.