The Last Airbus A380: The Airline Who Refuses To Let The Aircraft Die

End of an era.

Image Credit: Emirates

Emirates has taken delivery of the world’s last new Airbus A380, which was flown to Dubai from Hamburg last week. This signalled the end of 16 years of production of the much-loved jet (252 were built in total).

To mark the occasion, the aircraft was flown in a heart-shaped circle around Germany. This was noticed by Flight Radar 24, and posted to their Twitter account. Their followers quickly chimed in with how this moment made them feel.

“NO YOU’RE CRYING,” one wrote. “Love [love heart emoji],” wrote another.

Airbus took to Twitter with the following: “As we get ready to hand over MSN272 to @emirates, here’s our Flight Test team sending some Red heart to all #A380 fans out there.” One Twitter user said this was “very sad” and that it was “one of the most comfortable planes ever.”

Further comments included “so sad it’s the final build” and “they made 15 hour flights slightly tolerable.”

They won’t be making 15 hour flights slightly more tolerable forever though, with this latest delivery to Emirates being the very last one. That said: at least customers will be able to enjoy an A380 – a jet that can fit up to 853 passengers – for a few years to come (or until the airlines currently using A380s retire them all).

Airbus’ CEO Guillaume Faury also took to Twitter to share his thoughts. 

He wrote: “It’s been a very remarkable week. To wrap it up I couldn’t resist sharing a priviledged moment in Hamburg: the delivery of @Emirates ‘ final #A380, plus a special guest – ‘MSN001’ the original A380. Thanks to all Airbus pioneers & partners who contributed to this iconic aircraft.”

The A380 was called the future of aviation when it first was introduced.

In recent years, however, due to COVID (and the jet failing to fulfil the commercial vision of its designers) airlines have been favouring smaller aircraft.

Airbus announced plans to stop making the jet in 2019 due to a lack of demand. 

Indeed, Reuters reports that “production of the world’s largest airliner – capable of seating 500 people on two decks together with perks such as showers in first class – has ended with just over 250 delivered to airlines compared with the 1,000 or more once predicted.”

The age of the superjumbo isn’t over yet though. Emirates has now received 123 A380s and they will continue operating them for the foreseeable future (British Airways and Singapore Airlines use A380s for some routes too, and Qantas is also reportedly backing it as well).

So, even though it’s true that the pandemic saw many of the world’s A380s fall permanently out of favour (as CNN Travel reports, “Lufthansa’s decision to park its A380 turned into the German carrier permanently retiring the superjumbos, while AirFrance also retired its last A380”), other airlines are still banking on the A380’s popularity with passengers, and gradually putting it back onto some flight paths.

Image Credit: Flight Radar 24

After the last ever A380 was delivered to London (before it was flown to Dubai), Tim Clark, Emirates’ president, said the A380 will “remain Emirates’ flagship product for the coming years” calling it “a vital pillar of our network plans.”

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