With Air France most recently announcing the retirement of the A380 from its fleet, aviation enthusiasts are quietly waiting to see which airline will be next to say goodbye to the superjumbo. In reality, only one other airline has confirmed the retirement of some of its A380s – German carrier Lufthansa with seven. Reports last weekend suggested that Emirates may speed up the retirement of a large portion of its A380s. However, a recent interview with the airline’s president is making us reconsider…
Straight from the top
The news comes straight from the top: Emirates President Sir Tim Clark. Clark sat down for an interview with the Financial Times, which was published just yesterday. Here is what he had to say about the future of the fleet:
“We’re not getting rid of any of them apart from I think three that are coming out and nine 777s that were scheduled to come out this year… [The A380 has a] place in the Emirates international network on the scale it has before. Albeit not today or fully next year, but the year after I think there will be a place for it and I think it is going to be extremely popular.”
Indeed, the double-decker Airbus A380 has gained a great deal of affection from those who have had the chance to fly on it. Many have commented on its sense of spaciousness and the quietness of the cabin.
In fact, if even more airlines around the world continue the trend of retiring the A380, it could become even more of an attraction for Emirates as one of the few carriers still operating the type.
So who’s next?
The most interesting airlines to watch for A380 retirement will be those most similar to Emirates – the other two big Middle East carriers, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. Both of these airlines have their hubs in the same region and are mainly dependent on transit passengers as well.
“Qatar Airways is parking its 10 A380s and they will not return for at least a year, and maybe never.”
Then there is Etihad, which is reportedly considering scrapping its Airbus A380 and A350 fleets. The airline operates ten A380s and has been losing out to its Middle East rivals in recent years.
For both airlines – as well as other A380 operators around the world – the cost of maintenance and storage of the aircraft while it is on the ground is adding up fast. If this crisis continues to drag on, it would be advantageous cost-wise to say goodbye sooner and instead focus on the other types of aircraft in their respective fleets.
For A380 lovers, this latest news should be a welcome relief and a sign that the type will be flying for many more years to come.
Are you relieved to hear that Emirates won’t be retiring many of its A380 aircraft? Let us know in the comments.