Emirates President Sir Tim Clark said the airline would take delivery of the last-ever Airbus A380 in May 2022.
In 2020, Emirates already received three superjumbos and its remaining order of five A380s will be delivered over 2021 and 2022. In an exclusive interview to the AirlineRatings, Clark said that two more aircraft would be delivered in 2021 and the final three in 2022: “two in April, and the final one in May.” By May 2022, the carrier would have a fleet of 122 superjumbos in its fleet.
In February 2019, Airbus and Emirates agreed to reduce the total order for the A380 from 162 to 123 aircraft and include up to 40 Airbus A330-900neo and 30 Airbus A350-900 aircraft instead. As Emirates, Airbus’ main customer, shrank its order book, the manufacturer announced the cancellation of the production of the A380.
Airbus had a total of 251 orders of A380 aircraft with the last 5 yet to be delivered to Emirates.
Emirates Premium Economy Cabin
On December 28, 2020, after multiple postponements, Emirates took delivery of its first Airbus A380 wide-body featuring a new signature Premium Economy Cabin for ultra-long-haul operations. The Premium Economy Cabin will have 56 seats, each with 40 inches of pitch and a width of 19.5 inches.
Commenting on Emirates Premium Economy Cabins, Clark said: “Until we have a viable number of seats in our inventory to bring to market, we plan to offer the Emirates Premium Economy experience as a complimentary upgrade to valued customers. We’ll also deploy our newest A380 aircraft on various routes so that our customers can experience our latest offering in all classes.”
The remaining five A380s will also be delivered with premium economy cabins. Emirates’ premium economy seats will also be installed on some of its Boeing 777X aircraft which are only due to join the fleet in 2023. Emirates is considering plans to retrofit its existing A380 fleet, according to the airlines website.
Future of Emirates Superjumbos
With a sharp drop in demand for air travel, many airlines grounded their superjumbos earlier in 2020. Even though currently Emirates have five A380s in service, flying to Paris, London and Moscow, Clark is confident that all of the 118 A380s will return to service by 2022 and Emirates might have an advantage with its A380 fleet and the new Premium Economy Cabin.
“The difference this time is, there won’t be that many competitors left with wide-body equipment to do what we can do. A lot of them are getting rid of their equipment, they want to pull off routes that are marginal, and as that happens, the hub and spoke system strengthens, not the other way round,” said Clark.
Airbus announced the cancellation of the production of the A380 in February 2019.