With Air France just recently announcing the retirement of all of its A380 from the fleet, Avgeeks are quietly waiting to see which another airline will be next to say goodbye to the superjumbo jet. In reality, only one other airline has confirmed the retirement of some of its A380s – German carrier Lufthansa with seven planes due to retire. Reports last weekend suggested that Emirates may retire a significant portion of its A380s. However, a recent interview with the airline’s president is making us reconsider
Straight from the airline
The news comes straight from the airline’s president: Emirates President Tim Clark. Clark sat down for an interview with the Financial Times, which was published yesterday. Here is what he had to say about the future of the Emirati fleet:
“We’re not getting rid of any of them apart from I think three that are coming out and nine 777s that scheduled to come out this year… [The A380 has a] place in the Emirates international network on the scale it has before. Albeit not today or fully next year, but the year after I think there will be a place for it and I think it is going to be extremely popular.”
The double-decker Airbus A380 has gained a great deal of affection from those who have had the chance to fly on it. Many have illustrated on its sense of spaciousness and the quietness of the cabin.
If even more airlines around the world continue the aim of retiring the A380, it could become even more of an allure for Emirates as one of the few carriers still operating the type.
So who’s next?
The most exciting airlines to watch for A380 retirement will be those most similar to Emirates – the other two big Middle East carriers, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. Both of these airlines have their hubs in the same region and are mainly dependent on transit passengers as well.
Qatar Airways’ CEO said that the A380 might not be back once passenger traffic levels pick up. Speaking at a media briefing, Akbar al-Baker is quoted by Executive traveller as saying,
“Qatar Airways is parking its 10 A380s, and they will not return for at least a year, and maybe never.”
Then there is Etihad, which is reportedly considering scrapping out its A380 and A350 fleets. The airline operates ten A380s and has been losing out to its Middle East rivals in recent years.
For both airlines – as well as other A380 operators around the world – the cost of maintenance and storage of the superjumbo while it is on the ground is adding up fast. If this crisis continues to drag on, it would be advantageous cost-wise to say goodbye sooner and instead focus on the other types of aircraft in their respective fleets.
For A380 lovers, this latest news should be a welcome relief and a sign that the type will be flying for many more years to come.