11 Years Ago Emirates Received Their First Airbus A380

Emirates received its first Airbus A380 aircraft 11 years ago today. The giant of the skies provides the backbone of the Emirates Fleet. Today the airline celebrated 11 years of A380 ownership while other airlines are considering ditching the type.

Emirates Airbus A380 11 Years
Emirates’ first Airbus A380 was delivered 11 years ago. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Emirates is the world’s largest Airbus A380 operator. The airline currently has 110 A380s in its fleet, while awaiting 13 more. With the airline only operating two aircraft, on any flight it has to pick between the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. However, the airline is soon to diversify with Airbus A350 and A330 aircraft on order.

Like Marmite

The Airbus A380 is a little bit like marmite. Some people love it, while others hate it. Personally, I love it, however, it is possible to argue that the aircraft was both after its time as well as being before its time. The Airbus A380 is the world’s only commercial aircraft in widespread service with two complete passenger decks.

Emirates Airbus A380 11 years
Emirates received their 100th A380 in 2017. Photo: Emirates

Compared to the Boeing 747, the Airbus A380 is fairly young. It only ever got built as one model, with the freight version scrapped. The first flight of an Airbus A380 was the 27th of April 2005. Next year will see the 15th anniversary of the first flight, and airlines are already looking to retire the aircraft.

An important aircraft for Emirates

The Airbus A380 and Emirates are without a doubt a great couple. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380. While other carriers mainly use the type on long haul high demand routes, Emirates has other ideas.

The Middle Eastern Airline uses the aircraft on everything from short hops to Muscat, to longer London trips. In fact, in the UK you could see an Emirates Airbus A380 at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, or Glasgow.

The Future

While Emirates likely won’t abandon the aircraft any time soon, it is beginning to diversify its fleet. The carrier currently operates the Airbus A380 alongside the Boeing 777. However, they now have Boeing 777Xs on order, in addition to Airbus A330neos and A350s. The airline may also ink a deal for Boeing 787s.

Emirates Airbus A380 11 Years
The Airbus A380 is one of two types operated by Emirates. Photo: Emirates

As far as the A380 goes, I think it has a fair stint left at Emirates. While the oldest is now 11 years old, the newest aircraft has had just two years in the fleet. Emirates want to make money from all of its aircraft, so even if the carrier started to retire the Airbus A380, it would take a long time to withdraw the entire fleet.

In fact, in February an Emirates Spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“The A380s we receive in 2021 will be flying for another 15-20 years, so it’s not quite the end for a while…  We have some units on our books, some on lease or other structures, so retirement age will vary, but we intend to keep flying our A380s for as long as we can.”

What do you think of Emirates’ 11th A380 birthday? Let us know in the comments!