Last A380 being assembled as hundreds remain grounded

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May 13, 2020
A380
Photo: Emirates

Sadly it appears that the end is nearing for the Airbus A380 superjumbo that is the darling of passengers but a challenge for airline accountants.

The giant of the sky was already on borrowed time with Airbus pulling the plug on production early last year as far more fuel-efficient and flexible twin-engine aircraft have emerged such as the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and 777X.

Now with the massive decline in travel due to COVID19 the A380 fleet is essentially grounded.

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Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker told AirlineRatings.com that “Qatar Airways is parking its 10 A380s and they will not return for at least a year, and maybe never.”

The final tail fin for the last A380 is readied to be shipped to Toulouse. @Tobias_Gudat
Emirates President Sir Tim Clark told The National, last week that “we know the A380 is over.”

Emirates has 115 A380s in its fleet and all are parked but that process started last year.

In September Clark told Flight Global “We are in the process of [starting A380 retirements]. Two have been deactivated. They are under retirement because we’ve got a major overhaul coming up and it’s best to take the old aircraft out – they’re all written down – and take the gear off them rather than buy a $25 million main landing gear.”

Many other airlines announced plans before COVID19 to ground fleets, although airlines such as Qantas were expected to keep them flying to 2030.

Singapore Airlines first two A380s have now been broken up.

Before COVID19 the world fleet of A380s numbered 242 performing about over 300 flights a day.

Airbus and Emirates announce the end of the A380 in February last year when the airline said it would take just 14 more swapping its remaining commitments for 40 A330-900 aircraft, and 30 A350-900 aircraft in a deal worth US$ 21.4 billion at list prices.

Qatar Airways: Why the A380 failed.

Commenting on the agreement on A380 deliveries at the time, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “After many months of discussions, we have come to an agreement with Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception. While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation. For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew. It is a differentiator for Emirates. We have shown how people can truly fly better on the A380, and Emirates has set the standards for that by introducing customer experiences that are unique to the A380 like our Shower Spas and Onboard Lounge.”