After Emirates shipped one of its A380s to Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE), a storage facility in France, speculation arose whether the jet was placed there for long-term storage or whether it was retired.
On October 29, 2020, an Emirates spokesperson confirmed to AeroTime News that the Airbus A380 (registered A6-EDB) was indeed shipped to LDE for a permanent withdrawal from the airline’s fleet. The aircraft was delivered to the carrier in October 2008 and was the second Super Jumbo that began service with the airline.
Whether A6-EDA, Emirates’ first A380 would be retired was not yet clear.
“The A380 remains an important part of the Emirates fleet and it will continue to be our flagship for the next decade. The iconic aircraft continues to serve passengers on key routes including Cairo, Paris, London Heathrow, Guangzhou, Moscow and Amman,” added the media representative. At the moment, the airline operates 31 weekly flights with the double-decker, according to the airline.
“We will continue to expand its deployment in line with the gradual return in demand and approvals from the authorities.”
Emirates has 114 remaining A380s in its fleet, while eight are pending delivery. The airline’s double-deckers are complemented by 151 Boeing 777 aircraft, of which 11 are the freighter variants of the Triple Seven. It is speculated that more A380 retirements are set to follow. For example, Doric Nimrod Air Three estimated the useful life of its four double-deckers was 12 years. The company leases the four A380s to Emirates, with its leases set to expire in 2023, with an option to extend them for another two years.
As of October 29, 2020, Emirates has four Super Jumbos that are more than 12 years old, in addition to A6-EDF, which was used by Airbus since 2006 but modified prior to delivery in December 2009, according to planespotters.net data.