The final Emirates A380 has left Airbus’ Toulouse facility for Hamburg. It will receive a painting, its interiors and enter final testing. This will mark the end of the A380 production line, with no more orders left to satisfy. For Emirates, this is the latest A380 to feature its new premium economy product, making it the sixth in the whole fleet.
The A380 production line is located in Toulouse, France, where all the parts arrive and are assembled onto the aircraft’s framework. Once the plane is built (from engines to the tail), it undergoes thorough testing to ensure all details are functioning correctly. Once most checks are complete, the jumbojet makes its way to the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany.
It’s at Hamburg that the most recognizable features for passengers are added to the aircraft. From rows of the economy to the first-class suites, the cabins and seats are installed all by technicians on the ground.
Once the seats and cabin interiors are in place, the plane undergoes painting to wear its final livery. In this case, the aircraft will receive Emirates’ signature golden letters; the red stripe along the side are the finishing touches to the exquisite engineering marvel. Considering this is its last A380, we might expect a special paint-job too.
Emirates first announced its plans for the premium economy in May 2018. Two-and-a-half years later, the first A380 with the product was delivered to the airline in December 2020. Despite the delays, the cabin is assuredly striking. With 56 seats in 2-4-2 seating style, the cabin is located in the front of the lower deck of the A380.
The seats themselves offer 40 inches of seat pitch (distance between the seat in front and the back of the passenger seat). They are 19.5 inches wide, along with a retractable footrest. Notably, the seats recline 8 inches into a cradle position to offer added comfort while sleeping. The bright gold and wood design provides an airy feeling to the cabin and stands out in a distinct Emirates fashion.
The premium economy has found early success with the airline, with President Sir Tim Clark saying that he was “shocked” by the demand. The following five A380s lined up for delivery will also feature premium economy, making it more frequent across the network.
The final one
Registered F-WWSH/A6-EVS, MSN 272 is the final Airbus A380 to roll off the production line at Toulouse. Hamburg’s flight marks the line’s closure and begins the process of converting it into one for the A321 instead.
Emirates currently has five A380s remaining for delivery, which will be staggered over the next year. Two A380s will arrive this year, while the final three will reach Emirates by May 2022, completing the mega order.
The end of the A380’s production is undoubtedly a blow to fans around the world. However, we can all take solace in the fact that the A380 will be in the skies for another decade.
Fun fact: Emirates is the biggest customer of the A380; it has around 120 planes in its fleet.