The Last Airbus A380 Delivery Has Been Delayed Until December

It seems that Emirates may have been a tad optimistic when it revealed it would take its last three Airbus A380 aircraft in November. According to reports, the final aircraft’s delivery has now been delayed until December, giving Airbus a little more time to complete the aircraft.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Deliveries
Emirates’ final Airbus A380 delivery has been delayed until December. Photo: Getty Images

2021 will be the end of an era for the Airbus A380. The first giant aircraft was only delivered 14 years ago, yet Airbus is already pulling the plug on production. The final aircraft has already been built and is scheduled to be handed over by the end of the year, but it will remain in the skies for some time yet.

Final delivery delayed

Earlier this year, Emirates excited many by revealing that the last three Airbus A380s would be delivered a year early. They had been expected in 2022. The airline had said that the last jet would be delivered in November. This seems to have now slipped to December.

Tim Clark was recently at the IATA summit in Boston, along with many other airline CEOs. The Emirates Chairman hasn’t been keeping quiet at the side of the conference. He already questioned whether the 777-8 would be built by Boeing at all.

Airbus A380, Emirates, Schedule
Just three A380 deliveries are outstanding. All are bound for Emirates. Photo: Getty Images

According to aeroTELEGRAPH, that wasn’t all Clark said. The publication reports that he also revealed that the last Airbus A380 delivery has slipped to December. This is a fact that was also confirmed to them by Emirates spokespeople. In the grand scheme of things, the delay isn’t huge.

Why did Emirates bring the deliveries forward?

But why did Emirates bring forward the deliveries in the first place? It is all to do with the cabins that the aircraft is delivered with. Emirates is keen to get more aircraft in its fleet with its popular new premium economy cabin.

There are two ways to do this. Firstly, the airline could pay to retrofit the cabin into existing aircraft. However, the new aircraft that Emirates is taking come with it already installed. This means that the airline won’t pay extra for the cabin in these aircraft. The only difference is that the balance for the aircraft due on delivery will need to be paid in 2021 and not 2022.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Deliveries
The airline is taking its last three Airbus A380s early for their premium economy cabin. Photo: Emirates

Not going any time soon

While the delivery of the last Airbus A380 may make it seem as if the program is dead, this is far from the case. Earlier this year, Tim Clark commented that the airline would operate the jet into the mid-2030s, and it makes sense.

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Emirates won’t want to take delivery of these aircraft today, to scrap them tomorrow. The airline is also in the unique position that unlike other operators of the giant, it can’t function without the A380.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Return To Service
Other airlines are starting to bring the Airbus A380 back. Photo: British Airways

It won’t just be Emirates flying the jet though. As the post-pandemic recovery continues to gather momentum, other airlines are slowly bringing the giant out of hibernation. ANA is to take physical delivery of its last A380 this month, a year after it was delivered on paper. Meanwhile, British Airways’ A380s will return to the skies with paying passengers next month, with Qatar Airways set to follow in December.

What do you make of the final Airbus A380’s delivery delay? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!