The moment has finally come, as the last-ever produced Airbus A380 aircraft departed for its first test flight.

The Airbus A380, Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 272, departed for its first test flight from Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS), France at 12:54 PM local time (UTC +1), as the aircraft (temporarily registered as F-WWSH) is being prepared prior to its delivery to Emirates. The airline, which is the largest customer of the type, is currently awaiting for the last five A380 deliveries, including the aforementioned MSN 272.

This will be the last-ever produced Super Jumbo, as the manufacturer together with Emirates, announced that the carrier would reduce the backlog of the A380 by 39 aircraft on February 14, 2019. Citing no substantial backlog and no basis to sustain production as a result of the backlog shrink, the European planemaker indicated that 2021 would be the end of the road for the production of the double-decker on the same day.

In total, Emirates had 123 Airbus A380 aircraft on order, Airbus Orders & Deliveries data shows, while the total number of produced aircraft of the type will be 251. 

While the future was already bleak prior to the current pandemic for the Super Jumbo, the current downturn in demand for international travel has delivered a knockout punch for the aircraft. Many operators of the jet, including Air France and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), made the decision to retire their A380s prematurely as a result of the ongoing uncertainty regarding international travel.

However, not all hope is lost – several other airlines, including British Airways, Emirates and Qantas still see a future for the double-decker on some routes into the future, so there will still be opportunities to see one in the skies.

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Unlike some of its competitors, British Airways does not plan to permanently retire its A380 aircraft, CEO Sean Doyle revealed.