Airlineratings.com has been given a special opportunity to inspect the last few A380s being readied for Emirates.
Going, going, gone: It had become such a common sight since 2008 to see A380s lined up at the Airbus factory in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, earmarked for delivery mostly to Emirates, that now it’s hard to believe this seemingly endless flow will be over soon.
And being the last A380s it was a bitter-sweet time for the staff at the Airbus factory in Hamburg-Finkenwerder.
There is a sense of gloom hanging over the former A380 production line, with some of the hangars that used to house assembly lines for rear fuselage segments of the giant now being emptied and converted for the ramp-up of the wildly selling new long-haul narrow-body A321XLR.
“The A380 was my life, I even got to know my wife during some of the test programs,” says Andreas Foerster, VP A380 Final Assembly Line in Hamburg, who is now overseeing the last deliveries.
He will be transferred to the new bestselling narrow-body production, but everyone involved agrees that the A380 was an experience nobody will ever forget.
So far there was just one A380 delivery this year, with MSN 268 registered A6-EVO for Emirates transferring to Dubai on June 19, as the 247th A380 delivered. Now there are the three last A380s currently being readied in Finkenwerder. The next to be brought to service is MSN 270, to be registered A6-EVQ, parked in front of the delivery centre.
“This one will be transferred to Dubai still this year,” says Emirates’ VP North and Central Europe Volker Greiner in talking to Airlineratings.com during a recent media event in Hamburg, the first in-person-gathering in the factory in 18 months.
The two last A380s for Emirates will be delivered in 2022, as per Emirates’ President Sir Tim Clark’s advice to Airlineratings.com in December 2020. It is likely they will be delivered in April and May 2022, relegating the A380 program to history.
A total of 120 A380s have been delivered to the type’s biggest customer since 2008, one has officially been phased out, four more will follow soon, built between 2006 and 2011.
For the six last A380s off the line, Emirates has chosen to update the cabin – most notably finally rolling out its long-discussed Premium Economy Class offering.