The backbone of Emirates’ fleet, the Airbus A380, was grounded as travel demand diminished throughout the global pandemic. But after a four-month hiatus, the double-deckers are back operating commercial services for the Dubai-based airline.
Emirates flight EK1 from Dubai International Airport (DXB) departed for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 8:12 AM local time (UTC +4) with its flagship A380 (registered A6-EVC). Another Super Jumbo (registered A6-EVI) joined the party, as it departed from DXB towards Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) at 9:11 AM local time (UTC +4).
The two departures mark the first time the Airbus A380 departed for scheduled commercial flights in Emirates’ colors since March 2020, when the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the airline to re-adjust its network and ground its superjumbo fleet.
“The A380 remains a popular aircraft amongst our customers and it offers many unique on-board features. We are delighted to bring it back into the skies to serve our customers on flights to London and Paris,” stated Adel Al Redha, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer when Emirates announced the return of the A380 to active service on June 24, 2020.
“We are looking forward to gradually introduce our A380 into more destinations according to the travel demand on specific destinations,” added Al Redha.
The Dubai-based carrier’s fleet was questioned during the crisis, as the mammoth of an aircraft was retired by other operators, including Air France and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) . Other operators, including Qantas and Qatar Airways, placed them in long-term storage.
Rumors began to spread that the Emirates was pondering to cancel five out of the remaining eight deliveries that were already under assembly, while some of the older aircraft in the airline’s fleet were phased out in June 2020.