Dubai, UAE - Emirates Airlines has retired its first Airbus A380 aircraft. Two superjumbos from the airline's fleet are stored at Al Maktoum Airport, where they will be dismantled to deliver spare parts for the rest of the fleet. More A380s will follow in the coming years.
Emirates operates the world's largest A380 fleet. Although Airbus ended the A380 program due to lack of demand, the Gulf carrier still has 11 more superjumbo in its order book with the European aircraft manufacturer.
When taking into account the planes that will be retired over time, the A380 fleet of the Gulf-based carrier will increase to 115 aircraft in the short term from 110 with the new deliveries.
After that, the number will drop to 90-100 aircraft in 2025, but the A380 will continue to remain an important part of the Emirate's fleet for at least fifteen years," said Tim Clark during an interview with FlightGlobal.
Emirates is the second company to retire A380s after Singapore Airlines. The Asian carrier sent five of its A380s to Tarbes in France, where they were demolished for the second-hand spare part market.
SIA's A380s were only ten years old when they retired. Emirates has not disclosed how old the A380s are that are now being taken apart at Al Maktoum Airport. According to open-source fleet data, they shouldn't be more than eleven years.
Airbus's A380s lost its popularity among the major full-service operators because of its high operational cost compared with the newer generation more efficient widebody jets such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A350XWB and the upcoming Boeing 777X.
Besides its high operational cost, the A380s cannot be scheduled between the same destinations multiple times a day, which means fewer flights, less schedule flexibility.
Emirates' Boss warns Airbus and Boeing to improve quality
During an interview with Bloomberg, Tim Clark complaint about glitches in the new aircraft models from both Airbus and Boeing that is forcing airlines costly groundings for emergency repairs.
Emirates boss said that he would no longer take delivery of aircraft from both manufacturers that don’t deliver what it promises.
That’s not going to happen anymore. When they’re ready to give us what they’re contracted to do then we will have an assessment of the number and type of aircraft that are going to be used, Clark said.
Clark’s warning came after a fleet review prompted by the slowing global economy and the imminent retirement of the airline's A380s around which Emirates had grown its business.