Emirates Reveals When They’ll Retire A380s

Filed Under: Emirates

Obviously we’re looking way into the future here, but Emirates’ president Tim Clark has made an interesting statement about the future of the A380. Emirates plans to retire their fleet of A380s by the mid-2030s.

That’s not terribly precise, though it does give you a sense of Emirates’ expectations for the plane.

Emirates has been by far the world’s biggest supporter of the A380. They have 110 A380s in their fleet, and will take delivery of a further 13 A380s. They did everything they could to keep production of the A380 going, though in the end they realized it wasn’t practical.

Emirates will take delivery of their last A380 in 2021, so the timeframe of a mid-2030s retirement sounds about right. Emirates takes pride in having a young fleet, and they rarely keep planes beyond 10-15 years. Emirates’ current average fleet age is just over six years, and their current oldest plane was delivered in 2005.

So it makes perfect sense that Emirates would also expect that they’d stop A380 service about 15 years after they take delivery of their last A380.

It’s crazy to imagine an Emirates world post-A380, especially given how much of the brand’s image has been based around the plane, from the onboard bar to the onboard shower.

Emirates’ A380 onboard shower

Going forward Emirates will operate:

Then again, while it’s hard to imagine Emirates after the A380, I also wonder what the UAE will be like in 15 years (for better or worse), given how it has developed.

The A380 had its first flight in 2005. I imagine Emirates will be among the last airlines to fly the A380, so a 30 year life for the plane isn’t that bad, even though the plane wasn’t quite the success many of us had hoped.

  1. A 30 year life span for a plane isn’t that bad?! I can think of a few words… Embarrassment, travesty, depressing — just to name a few

  2. The A380 will never leave the skies. By the mid-2030s, when Emirates says they will retire the aircraft, global population and air travel demand will have increased from today’s numbers by more than enough to justify the return of A380 production. High population regions and slot restricted airports, such as ones in Asia and LHR need the A380 and will be begging for it’s comeback when production phases out. This whole “the A380 has been a failure” talking point is overblown, they drove their biggest competition (747) essentially out of the marketplace. A380 will not be leaving the skies soon or even ever.

  3. The A380 didn’t drive the 747 out of the marketplace, the 777 did. If it weren’t for EK, you’d be hard pressed to find an A380 outside of a few European airlines who were strong-armed into ordering a few. However, as airlines have learned how to fit 350+ into a twin-engine aircraft, the 773 has shown up in virtually every major airline’s fleet and shrunk the need for 4-engine aircraft to almost zero.

  4. Don’t you think that EK can add their inflight bars and shower suites to the 777x?

  5. Unfortunately, Doug is right. Airlines are packing more people into smaller aircraft. I remember British Airways had seating for around 300 in a 747-400. That’s not uncommon in a 767, 787 or A330 today. What’s funny, I just looked up the capacities on BA and they haven’t changed much. It must mean that the front became less dense while the back moreso.

  6. Guessing Emirates will push Boeing to go ahead with the 777-10 stretch to minimize the capacity loss.

  7. You can imagine with the final a380 flight, one of the many Boeing 747 freighters with a cheeky crew photobombing the pictures.

  8. @Austin

    It isn’t going to become more economical with its weight, engines and wing to fuselage size ratio, especially as smarter and more efficient planes keep being developed.
    It is twentieth century design, even when the a380 is full it’s economics are far below not only the 777 but also below the 747-8. All the comparisons they make with the Jumbo for economics and cost per seat are based on it being cheaper to run than a 1980s 400 series 747, and that is when the a380 is actually full.

  9. They should never retire this.

    Product over profit! Airline CEOs should be focused on making teh best product possible instead of trying to be profitable.

  10. @Lucky I don’t think the first flight for an Emirates A380 took place in 2005, Singapore Airlines only got the first in 2007.

  11. i dont understand the hate against the A380, why are they ending production? why dont airlines like it?

  12. @Brian. Whatever your passion is it’s probably good that you’re not running an airline

  13. “Going forward Emirates will operate:

    777s, including the 777-300ER, the 777-9 (starting in 2020), and the 777-8 (starting in 2022)
    The A330-900neo (starting in 2021) and A350-900 (starting in 2024)”
    The 777-300er will NOT be operated into 2030s, as we know the last one was delivered in 2018. And you know their young fleet policy well.

    Give me a high five man! I thought the same thing too!

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