The status of the Airbus A380 has been questioned ever since international travel took a massive step back due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Some airlines have laid out plans to retire the double-decker prior to the disaster that was 2020, while some remained strong believers in the Super Jumbo. Emirates was one of them, as the airline had quite a hefty fleet of A380s – and once again, the airline’s executives have re-affirmed their long-term belief in the aircraft.
“The [Airbus – ed. note] A380 […] will continue in the plan until the mid-2030s,” said Emirates President Tim Clark, while speaking during CAPA Live on February 10, 2021. At the moment, the airline has 118 aircraft of the type in its fleet, with five pending deliveries, according to Clark. Out of the 118, 107 of them have been parked, per planespotters.net, as newly-introduced international travel restrictions have limited the scope of potential operations.
After all, despite the obvious drawbacks of the A380, there are some arguments for it as well. Especially since Emirates introduced Premium Economy on its double-deckers, which the executive indicated that the cabin will be something really important to the airline.
“We are in the process of trying to establish of how many of our existing fleet we can put through the conversion,” stated Clark on Emirates’ premium economy. “To be quite honest, we have been absolutely shocked at the demand for the [Premium Economy – ed. note] seats – people have been clamoring to get into them.”
Nevertheless, the A380 will have to be retired eventually and Emirates has seemingly lined up its replacement, with a variety of aircraft, namely the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and the yet-to-be-certified 777X.
“With the [Boeing 777 – ed. note] X gradually slipping in to replace the A380s that eventually go and retire, we will have a leaner, very fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly network that will probably be 30% larger in terms of cities served,” commented Clark on the Super Jumbo’s replacement. In addition to the 777X, the Dubai-based carrier has the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 on order.