Emirates, which made the Airbus A380 the backbone of its fleet, is having very serious second thoughts about the double-decker. Previously, the airline reportedly looked at the possibility of accelerating the retirement of a few dozen A380s. Now, the Dubai-based carrier is looking to take up fewer aircraft of the original order, as the landscape of aviation is set to look much different after the current pandemic.
Instead of the eight remaining aircraft, Emirates wants to take up only three before the end of its next financial year in March 2021, according to people familiar with the matter, reported Bloomberg. The problem, however, is the fact that all eight are currently undergoing assembly in Toulouse, France – the location of the Airbus A380 Final Assembly Line (FAL).
The cancelation would come at a cost of $70 million (AED257 million) per one A380. However, the penalty would be cheaper for Emirates than to take up the aircraft and pay the full sum for the double-decker, which seemingly has no future in aviation.
In early-May, the President of Emirates Tim Clark stated that the days of the jet are numbered, as the Airbus “A380 is over.” The airline indicated in its latest yearly report that it was awaiting the deliveries of the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as the two aircraft are set to become the main cogs in Emirates’ operations going forward from 2023.
For Airbus, the cancelation would provide quite a challenging puzzle to solve – the lifeline of the A380 was Emirates. After the Middle East airline reduced its initial order, the manufacturer was forced to end the production of the quad-jet on February 14, 2019.
The only other remaining customer for the program, All Nippon Airways, is waiting for its third and final delivery.