RIP: Emirates Retires First Airbus A380

Filed Under: Emirates

The slow and sad death of the A380 continues.

Emirates retires first Airbus A380

Emirates is by far the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380. The airline has 114 A380s, with a further eight of the super jumbos on order.

Well, Emirates is in the process of retiring an Airbus A380 for the first time. More specifically, A6-EDB has been spotted in Dubai with an all white paint scheme, and is in the process of leaving Emirates’ fleet.

A6-EDB, Emirates’ first A380 to be retired

This particular A380 was the second A380 that Emirates ever took delivery of, and it joined the company’s fleet in October 2008, meaning that it’s nearly 12 years old. This was the 13th A380 ever built (with previous ones being Airbus test frames, and the remainder being built for both Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airline).

For further context, the world’s first A380 retirement came in 2017, as Singapore Airlines retired an A380 after 10 years of service. Furthermore, Air France recently became the world’s first airline to retire its entire A380 fleet.

Singapore Airlines became the first airline to retire an A380

Is this A380 retirement due to coronavirus?

There have been rumors that Emirates may retire 40% of its A380 fleet, given how the landscape has changed due to coronavirus. This particular A380’s retirement is mostly unrelated to coronavirus, and isn’t unexpected.

Emirates plans to keep many of its A380s for about 12 years, as much of Emirates’ fleet was leased for that long. This particular A380 would be approaching the 12 year mark this fall, so at this point it makes sense for the airline to just retire the plane now, since it’s not like the airline will be operating anywhere close to capacity in the coming months.

In other words, this retirement may have been a few months earlier than expected, but this isn’t (yet) indicative of a plan to retire dozens of A380s shortly.

Emirates was supposed to retire its first A380 this year all along

When will Emirates retire all Airbus A380s?

Emirates is expected to take delivery of its last A380s in 2021, though let’s see if that ends up happening, as the airline is apparently trying to negotiate a way out of those deliveries.

Emirates’ plan — at least pre-pandemic — was to fly these A380s for up to 15 years, which would mean that Emirates will operate A380s through the mid-2030s. Only time will tell if that timeline is going to change due to the current pandemic, which is causing a lot of airlines to make fleet adjustments.

Emirates A380s are expected to fly until the mid-2030s

Bottom line

Emirates is retiring its first A380, as the plane approaches its 12th birthday. This retirement has very little to do with the current pandemic, as the plane was due to be retired in the coming months anyway.

It still remains to be seen whether Emirates will adjust plans and retire dozens of A380s prematurely…

  1. I think we all sense that 380’s are on their way out as are most of the world’s less efficient aircraft it just costs too much to maintain versus load demands in the future. Sad but the virus has brought about a whole of new thinking when it comes to consumption and the environment, a good thing. I will miss the showers they were actually quite refreshing after a 15/16 hour flight especially when you were connecting on to another 5/8 hour flight.

  2. Sad but High Fly must be checking their bank account and to see if they can afford to add another 2nd hand A380 to their fleet! How’s that working out for them this year?

  3. Definately a good news for some countries who can take first ever A380 for their flagship carriers.

  4. Very sad to see the development of retiring EK A380. Hopefully, they leave some in the fleet. They can get rid of the bar. But NOT the shower. They should introduce more of the new F cabin suites with a shower stall onboard.

  5. What’s the purpose of painting aircraft all white when going out of service etc. it’s an extra cost since money is tight! It’s well publicized anyway why spend the money ?

  6. @Sid – they normally paint retiring planes all-white to make them easier to sell on (not that this bird has a hope in heck of selling for anything other than parts and scrap metal!)

  7. All good things come to an end.

    Of course the bar, the onboard-shower and the smooth & silent ride will be missed.

    However with even secondary airports now offering acceptable lounges with showers, A350 and 787 allowing more direct and less time-consuming point-to-point flights the future is not bad.
    And in terms of passenger comfort these to aircraft will also be one step forward in terms of cabin pressure and humidity. Bonus is of course the faster boarding and de-boarding in comparison to an A380.

  8. Why A380 made it now thinking of scrapping. I think hold for next 10 years. Somebody bring up again. Future generations people will like to travel on double – decker

  9. Mr. Hossain ,
    If they hold on to it for later , it will be to use it as a combi-freighter . Low-density payload is the only profitable paradigm left for the Super-Jumbo , in a post-covid world.
    D.H. .

  10. Mr. Hossain ,
    If they hold on to it for later , it will be to use it as a combi-freighter . Low-density payload is the only profitable paradigm left for the Super-Jumbo , in a post-covid world.
    D.H. ..

  11. The A380 is my favourite plane. I love the look, the space, the quiet, and the amentities.

    I always loved The Queen of the Skies (747) but flying the A380 was even better.

    My nostalgic heart is with the 747 but my head was always with the A380.

    Sad but both wil be memories in the future. The remaking planes just are not special. Nice, yes, but sadly not special.

  12. It’s kinda weird (and a little sad) to think that when the last A380 retires, there’s a good chance that 747s will likely still be flying around (as freighters)

  13. How comes my comment “The era of four-engine aircrafts comes slowly to an end” awaits moderation? Which words did trigger your censorship filter? Did my comment hurt the feelings of a particular aircraft manufacturer? Seriously

  14. One of Emirates Airline’s policy is to maintain a young fleet. In fact Emirates has the youngest fleet in the world. Meaning they do not use an aircraft for more than around 10 years. So this is their normal routine. Good job Emirates.

  15. Firts: i have been in the Airbus factory, when the first A380 for Emirates, was built.
    On the December the 12th i flow back from DXB to ZRH, with this old A380 Seat 11K.
    This Aircraft was having the round stairs ! Also she was very old……..

  16. I’ve taken this particular plane in J last summer and it certainly felt its age. There were loose panels in my foot well and one misbehaving ambient light panel. I’ll miss the bar and the kind service, though.

  17. an in the 777 from DXB to MLE was not a realy bussiness class, maybe e little better tourist class !
    And on the Back Flight from DXB to ZHR we get also not a kind service ! I started the Dinner and after view time, they cleared away my dishes. The Champagne i missed also…………

  18. I’ll miss the A-380. Leaving aside the operating economics, my flights to and from Singapore have been very comfortable.

  19. Two questions: Q1-understand some airlines have a very accelerated depreciation schedule: is that true for Emirates? Singapore? Others?
    Q2-do airlines buy or lease 1st Class seats and/or Business Class seats?

  20. the seats on the Business Class in the A380 from ZRH to DXB with Emirates, ware not more then
    15 % occupied

  21. I will say, the difference between the Business Class from the Emirates A380 an the 777 it’s to grate. B777 Seats are thin and have a pore movement, they are not comfortable for a Flight during more then 4 hours, from DXB to MLE ! I suppose the 777 was also a old Aircraft, then if i was looking the Pictures in the Internet on the Page from Emirates, they show much better………

  22. I always thought A380s would be great for social distancing on plane because they’re so big even though it may not be economically viable. I still remember flying Emirates A380 JFK-DXB route back in spring 2009 (great recession) where the entire rear half of lower deck economy was empty. I think each of us were able to get our own row of seats.

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