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A380 defies obituaries as Emirates returns them to the sky

written by Hannah Dowling | June 24, 2020

Touchdown – Emirates' inaugural A380 service EK3801 lands at New York 15 minutes ahead of schedule at 1630 local time. (Emirates)
Touchdown – Emirates’ inaugural A380 service EK3801 lands at New York 15 minutes ahead of schedule at 1630 local time. (Emirates)

Emirates has announced that some of its Airbus A380 fleet will be returning to the skies above Europe and the Middle East by 15 July 2020, after grounding the fleet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, the airline has been operating its international flights on its smaller aircraft, the Boeing 777.

However, Emirates has now announced that from mid-July, flights from the Dubai hub to London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gualle will again be made on the superjumbo jet, with Amsterdam’s Schiphol to be added to the schedule from 1 August.

The announcement comes as Dubai opens its doors to tourists for the first time since March, with holidaymakers set to return to the city-state from 7 July.

The news of Emirates superjumbos’ return to the air is likely to come as a relief to commentators, who anticipated that many of the grounded A380s around the globe might never take to the skies again.

Emirates has touted in the past that it would cancel upcoming deliveries of the A380, with CEO Tim Clark quoting that the aircraft type was “over”, even prior to the COVID-19 downturn. 

And yet, last month Clark announced that the airline had no intentions of retiring its superjumbos, although did note that “there are going to be a number that will have to go into long-term storage” until 2022.


He argued that the A380 has played an important role in the Emirates international network, that he believes will return.

“Albeit not today or fully next year, but the year after I think there will be a place for it and I think it is going to be extremely popular,” Clark said.

At the time, Clark didn’t comment on the reports that Emirates is seeking to cancel five of its last eight A380 deliveries, as Airbus gears up to end production of the world’s largest passenger jet, 15 years after it started.

Meanwhile, both Air France and Middle-Eastern rival Etihad Airways have both confirmed the upcoming retirement of their entire fleet of A380s.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has said that all 10 of the airline’s A380s will remain grounded until at least 2021, with the entire fleet due to be retired by 2024, 10 years after their purchase.


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