The largest operator of the Airbus A380, Emirates, shared an optimistic view of the demand for air travel in the near-term future. The airline, which currently owns 114 of the double-deckers, has parked 102 of them.

“My own view, and it’s always an optimistic view, is by end of next calendar year or the first quarter of 2022 we’ll have all our A380s flying,” stated President of Emirates Tim Clark in an interview with Bloomberg. Out of the 114 total Super Jumbos it has, the Dubai-based airline has stored 102 of them. Airbus has yet to deliver eight additional A380s to Emirates before the manufacturer finally stops the production of the aircraft in 2021.

The airline also permanently retired its first Airbus A380 aircraft in October 2019, when A6-EDB was shipped to Tarbes Airport (LDE) in France to be phased out of Emirates’ fleet.

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Emirates confirmed that its first Airbus A380 was sent to France in order for it to be retired, confirming earlier speculation about the future of A6-EDB.
 

According to Clark, his optimistic view is bolstered by the recent news of successful vaccine trials. The executive indicated that as the vaccine against the coronavirus will be distributed across the globe, a sharp increase in air travel demand will follow suit.

His comments follow a recent announcement by the company. In mid-November 2020, the flag carrier of Dubai posted its first H1 loss in 30 years, as passenger revenue decreased by 75%. All in all, the company ended the first half of its financial year with a loss of AED 12.6 billion ($3.4 billion).

A bright spot in Emirates’ operations was cargo. The airline, which also owns 11 Boeing 777F freighters, was able to increase its cargo yields by a whopping 106% compared to the same period in 2019.

“The extraordinary market situation for air freight during the global COVID-19 crisis, where drastically reduced passenger flights led to limited available capacity while airfreight demand rose strongly,” read Emirates’ financial report.

Furthermore, the local government has put its words into action. After the Crown Prince of Dubai Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum announced that the Government of Dubai is “committed to providing full support” in March 2020, the company’s recent financial report revealed that it received $2 billion of additional investment from Dubai.

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With Emirates battling the current crisis and finishing the first half of the year with a multi-billion loss, the Dubai government was more than eager to inject funds into the airline.
 

Emirates currently operates 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. In its most recent update on November 18, 2020, the network of destinations was expanded to Manchester Airport (MAN), in addition to increasing daily flights to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to four per day and going from a twice-weekly service to daily flights to Moscow, Russia.

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Three largest Middle Eastern airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – are continuing to expand their networks. But which one is in the lead?