Today marks another milestone at the end of the Airbus A380 project. The last A380 to be built (MSN 272) completed its first flight, heading to the manufacturer’s Hamburg Finkenwerder plant, where Airbus will likely paint it.
It’s been over two years since Airbus revealed that it would be pulling the plug on the A380 project due to a failed attempt to reignite sales with the A380 Plus. However, five of the giants remain undelivered. These aircraft are all bound for Emirates, with the last scheduled to be delivered next year.
The final first flight
This week seems to be a week of first flights for final planes. Yesterday, the last Boeing 787 to be built at Boeing’s Everett plant took its first flight. Now, it’s Airbus’ turn with the Airbus A380. The momentous day started with a rejected take-off test for the aircraft at Toulouse.
— Clément Alloing (@CAlloing) March 17, 2021
At around 13:00, the aircraft took off from Toulouse, marking the last time a brand new aircraft would ever do so. The A380 undertook a low pass, complete with a cute wing-wave, before heading off from the facility. It then routed up through French and Swiss airspace before arriving in Germany.
Having cruised at 43,000 feet, the aircraft touched down at Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport at around 16:10, giving a flight time of about three hours and ten minutes.
MSN 272, the last @Airbus A380 built, doing a low-pass & wing wave in Toulouse on March 17 before flying to Hamburg (XFW). Video: Virgile Prodault @Virgile_prd ✈️ @jonostrower @AirlineFlyer @airlivenet @jvreymondon @AirbusPRESS @jetcitystar @AA380fanclub @AgueraMartin @emirates pic.twitter.com/zW2PJofN6I
— Aeronews (@AeronewsGlobal) March 17, 2021
A symbolic test registration?
The aircraft flew under the test registration F-WWSH. Airbus previously gave this to ANA’s first A380 before its delivery in the first half of 2019. It has a history of being applied to the first aircraft for an airline, also having been used for Lufthansa’s first Airbus A380.
Coincidentally, The first Airbus A380 to be tested with the registration was the first Airbus A380 to be delivered to Emirates, A6-EDA. This aircraft is now 13.5 years old, having been delivered in July 2008.
10-15 years left for the A380
While today’s flight marks the beginning of the end for the Airbus A380, as far as the manufacturer is concerned, the type is unlikely to disappear from the skies any time soon. Emirates is set to receive this aircraft in 2022 and will want to put it to good use before retiring it.
The airline previously revealed that it intends to operate the giant of the skies into the mid-2030s, and with a fleet of over 100 jets, it will take some time to replace them all. The airline is already planning to operate the A380 to 18 cities this summer, with the aim of returning the entire fleet to service by 2022.
Are you sad to see the final first flight of the Airbus A380? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!