Emirates Speeds Last A380 Deliveries, Hastening Superjumbo’s End
(Bloomberg) -- Emirates will receive its final A380 jetliner six months early, ending an Airbus SE superjumbo program that proved too big to compete in a changing air-travel market.
Three more aircraft will be delivered by November, the Gulf carrier said Wednesday in a statement, speeding a timetable that had targeted June 2022.
“We’ve come to an agreement with Airbus to bring forward the delivery of our remaining A380 orders and have secured financing for these units,” Emirates President Tim Clark said in the statement.
Its A380 fleet will reach 118, including six with premium-economy seats that are proving popular with leisure travelers as the Covid-19 pandemic sinks demand for first-class and business-class seats.
Emirates, operating out of its hub in Dubai, has long been the most important customer for the A380, making it the cornerstone of its all wide-body fleet. But the four-engine plane, developed to transport more than 500 people between major international destinations, was mismatched for an aviation market that’s shifted toward point-to-point service with smaller, more efficient jets.
The airline said last week that it plans to ramp up services to Europe and other destinations. It plans to keep operating the plane for another two decades, it said Wednesday. Models with premium economy seats are currently operating on London and Paris routes.
Airbus declined to comment. The European planemaker has completed production of the A380s for Emirates and is already converting the assembly line at its Toulouse, France, headquarters to make the popular A320-series narrow-body.
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