While the Airbus A380 has been put in storage or retired by most airlines, one carrier stands out. Emirates has been using its superjumbo almost through the pandemic, only grounding it for four months last year. However, despite the airline’s optimism about the jet, it is not operating more than 15-20 a week, according to Sir Tim Clark. Let’s find out more.
In an interview with John Strickland of Forbes, Sir Tim Clark talked about his airline’s situation and the current status of the A380. As expected, Emirates is anticipated to report a deep loss for the last financial year, as passenger demand plummeted and flights were grounded for months. Moreover, refunds, staff costs, and lease charges all continued to drain cash resources.
When it comes to the Airbus A380, Emirates has been bullish outlook on the aircraft. Sir Tim Clark has previously said that the plane will be in the fleet until the “mid-2030s.” The Dubai-based airline was also one of the first to resume A380 operations after an initial grounding in March.
However, right now, the superjumbo isn’t seeing as much use. Every week, only 15 to 20 A380s take to the skies, mostly due to a lack of high passenger demand destinations. This is higher than the number of aircraft in use at the end of 2020, which only saw 12 planes in use. However, this means 13% to 17% of the fleet is currently in active use.
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Despite border restrictions slowly easing, Emirates has not found many markets warranting the use of the superjumbo. Countries like Australia still have their borders closed to non-citizens and strict caps on incoming travelers, ruling out the A380. Most destinations are well-served by the smaller Boeing 777, which is a freight-carrying powerhouse.
However, there is good news on the horizon. Emirates is planning to deploy the Airbus A380 to 18 cities this summer, increasing the number of aircraft in active use. Destinations seeing the superjumbo include Manchester, Paris, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai, and many others. However, this list is subject to travel restrictions at the time.
Despite the doom and gloom of COVID-19, Sir Tim Clark is optimistic that aviation will recover to its 2019 highs. The distribution of vaccines globally, falling in infection levels in parts of the world, and border reopenings signal that we could be rounding a corner in the pandemic. However, at the same time, cases remain stubbornly high in some places, threatening any sustained recovery.
For now, Emirates is taking the situation day by day and reassessing its future network. With the summer knocking at the doorstep, there is some goods news for eager travelers and struggling airlines alike.
What do you think about Emirates’ A380 use? Should the airline have grounded the type? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!