As rival airlines retire their superjumbos, Emirates is preparing for the delivery of two new Airbus A380s in the next two months. The airline’s CEO said in an interview that the aircraft’s disappearance from other airline fleets is actually going to be better for Emirates.
The A380 has a role in Emirates’ future
In an exclusive interview with Aviation Business, Emirates’ CEO, Sir Tim Clark, said that, in spite of COVID-19, the airline’s Airbus A380s still have a huge role to play in its future. The operator of the world’s largest A380 fleet expects to get more out of its superjumbos as it emerges from the global crisis. Sir Tim said,
“[A380s] remain hugely popular with the traveling public. And with less of them around now, I should think we will do particularly well with this aeroplane when we get them all flying again.”
In March, Emirates grounded its fleet of 115 A380 jets following coronavirus-related border closures. The carrier has only reintroduced the plane on a select number of popular routes, such as London and Paris.
Although Emirates retired its first superjumbo last month, Sir Tim confirmed that the airline is going ahead with its delivery schedule for the aircraft. It currently has eight on order. One A380 is being delivered in November, with another arriving in December.
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The demise of the A380 “a long way off,” says Emirate’s CEO
Sir Tim Clark said he couldn’t see another aircraft having the same impact on Emirates in the future as the A380 did.
“The A380 was probably the best thing that could have happened to Emirates and certainly Dubai. We value it enormously, we regret the fact it’s gone out of production, but that is testament to the strength of our business model, where others have tried to use it and failed.”
He went on to say:
“It’s been enormously successful for us, in many, many ways, directly and indirectly. So we will have to manage eventually the departure of the aeroplane. But we’re a long way off from that.”
It was only back in May this year that Sir Tim was quoted as saying that “the A380 is over, the 747 is over.” He predicted that the A350 and 787 would be a better fit in the post-pandemic years.
Global airlines move toward more efficient planes
Other airlines around the world have already decided to retire the A380 from their fleets, or to park them for an extended period. They say that the aircraft is too expensive to run in the face of reduced demand for international travel in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
They will instead operate with newer, more efficient twin-engine widebody planes such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350.
Emirates operates a fleet of 151 Boeing 777s and is opting for new A350s, 787s, and 777Xs after the A380 is discontinued. However, as one of the few carriers with a business model that could operate the superjumbo profitably, Emirates won’t be planning any drastic restructuring of its fleet in the near future.
What do you think of Emirates taking deliveries of new A380s at this time? Let us know in the comments.