Emirates Won’t Get Its Last Airbus A380 Until 2022

While Airbus is putting the finishing touches to the final A380s to roll off its production line, it seems it will take longer for the manufacturer to ship these aircraft out. According to Andreas Spaeth, an aviation journalist, Emirates will not take delivery of its final A380s until the spring of 2022.

Emirates (United for Wildlife Livery) Airbus A380-861 A6-EOM
Emirates might be deferring its final A380s until 2022. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

No final deliveries until 2022

As Emirates fights to drive down its costs in the wake of the pandemic, the scale of its cost-cutting is becoming clear. While Airbus had endeavored to deliver the last A380 from its production line in 2021, it seems that Emirates has other ideas.

Aviation journalist Andreas Spaeth claims that Emirates would, in fact, not be taking its last three A380s until 2022. Spaeth says that, while three A380s will still be delivered before the end of 2020, the last two will not arrive until the second quarter of 2022.

Specifically, Spaeth says that two will arrive in April 2022, and the final one in May 2022. This means that, while Airbus is busy wrapping up its A380 production line, it might not be able to deliver its very last of the type for around 18 months.

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Not a big surprise

If the rumor turns out to be true, this delay to the A380 deliveries is not entirely surprising. Emirates has been returning its 777s to service far more quickly than its A380s. At the last count, according to Planespotters.net, 100 A380s remain parked, with just 14 in service. This is in stark contrast to the 144 777s that have been returned to operations, leaving just seven in storage.

The more rapid resumption of operations with the 777 is beneficial for Emirates for two reasons. Firstly, the smaller seat count makes it far easier to fill, allowing it to operate on routes with currently stunted demand. With two engines rather than four, it’s more economical to fly with a lower load factor, letting Emirates fly cash-positive missions even in these difficult times.

Emirates Airbus A380-861 A6-EDO (1)
The majority of Emirates’ A380 fleet remains grounded. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

As well as this, the 777 is a far more capable cargo hauler than the A380. While the A380 has huge capacity for passengers, it comes at a sacrifice of cargo capacity. Emirates has been experimenting with turning some of its A380s into ‘mini freighters’, given the lucrative value of cargo flights right now, but only on a very limited basis.

It was expected that many of the A380s would remain parked for some time, more so with the evidence that the vast majority of A380 pilots had been asked to take 12 months’ leave. That’s on top of the large number who have lost their jobs on a permanent basis.

Here comes premium economy

The aviation world is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next new A380s this month, as it will be the first aircraft in the Emirates fleet to be fitted with the new premium economy cabin.

Emirates has been relatively tight-lipped about the specifications for the new product, but has revealed that it will be a properly separate cabin. On A380s with no first class, it will be located on the upper deck, adding to the product’s appeal.

Emirates is the first Middle East airline to plump for premium economy. With the first new A380 due to arrive within the next few weeks, we should know more about what this cabin has to offer very soon.