Emirates is retiring its first Airbus A380. The retirement had already been planned before the current crisis and sees the 12-year old giant of the skies flying one last time to Tarbes in the southwest of France.
While being a truly innovative aircraft, the Airbus A380 is sadly a victim of its design. The groundbreaking plane was released with much excitement in the 00s. However, in a day and age when sustainability is essential, four engines just can’t be justified due to the much better efficiency of twin-engined jets. Of course, the current situation has done the type no favors.
Emirates is today sending the first of its Airbus A380 aircraft on its final flight. A6-EDB was the second aircraft delivered to the airline and only the 13th A380 ever built. According to Planespotters.net, it took its first flight on April 2nd, 2008. Following a series of test flights, it was delivered to Emirates on October 24th, before entering service on October 27th, exactly 12 years ago today.
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The aircraft was withdrawn from use on February 23rd, one month before all of Emirates’ flights were grounded by the UAE government. However, due to an upcoming requirement for heavy maintenance, the aircraft’s departure had been planned irrespective of the current situation.
One final flight
Simple Flying reported that the aircraft had been painted white in preparation for its impending departure back in June. Now, the aircraft’s big day has finally come. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft departed from Dubai International at 15:55 with the flight number EK2689. At the time of writing, the aircraft was cruising over Bulgaria at 40,000 feet, with around 2,000km left to run. It is currently estimated to land in Tarbes (LDE) at around 19:50.
The aircraft’s last passenger flight was from Muscat to Dubai on February 23rd. This is the shortest Airbus A380 route in the world.
Which other Airbus A380s have been retired?
Emirates isn’t the only airline that has begun to retire the giant of the skies. Singapore was the first airline to do so long before the current situation with four aircraft. One of these lives on as Hi Fly’s cargo giant.
Air France became the next airline to do so. It retired its first aircraft towards the end of last year. However, it sped up the retirement of the remainder of its fleet due to the situation. Lufthansa followed by retiring half of its fleet of aircraft, with the rest unlikely to return to the skies.
Emirates is unlikely to stop operating the A380 any time soon. It has over 100 aircraft making up around half of its fleet. Additionally, eight of the remaining nine A380s to be delivered by Airbus are bound for the Middle Eastern giant.
Are you sad to see the first Emirates A380 retired? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!