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Emirates Retires its First Airbus A380

Emirates Airbus A380 A6-EDB was spotted in an all-white livery at Dubai International Airport.

The aircraft joined the airline fleet on October 24, 2008, six months after its first test flight. According to reports the aircraft hadn’t performed a revenue flight in four months.

A6-EDB made its last commercial flight on February 23 from Muscat International Airport in Muscat, Oman, to Dubai before being stored at Dubai World Central International Airport on February 28.

Emirates is by far the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380. The airline has 114 A380s, with a further eight of the super jumbos on order. The second in that list, Singapore Airlines, has only 19 planes, and the third, Lufthansa, has 14 units and are being taken out of service.

The retirement of A6-EDB has very little to do with the current pandemic. The airline was already planning to retire approximately 30 A380s around the middle of the decade, with more exits afterwards.

However, a Forbes report stated that with post-COVID recovery not expected until 2023, it may become necessary for the airline to accelerate the fleet plan and retire 46 A380s, which it may have done by 2027/2028.

The report further said that the figure of 46 A380s retirements cited in multiple reports is understood to be preliminary. Discussions started around 50 A380s and this was refined to an initial 46 aircraft.

“You’ll start seeing A380s coming out of our fleet for various reasons, and we’ve always said this,” said Emirates Airline President Tim Clark last year. “These are being dealt with on a tail-by-tail, month-by-month basis under a retirement [schedule] that is well planned already.”

“We are in the process of [starting A380 retirements],” he said at the time. “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. I need two, possibly three, to meet that [overhaul] requirement.”

“You’ll start seeing A380s coming out of our fleet for various reasons, and we’ve always said this,” said Emirates Airline President Tim Clark last year. “These are being dealt with on a tail-by-tail, month-by-month basis under a retirement [schedule] that is well planned already.”

“We are in the process of [starting A380 retirements],” he said at the time. “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. I need two, possibly three, to meet that [overhaul] requirement.”

“You’ll start seeing A380s coming out of our fleet for various reasons, and we’ve always said this,” said Emirates Airline President Tim Clark last year. “These are being dealt with on a tail-by-tail, month-by-month basis under a retirement [schedule] that is well planned already.”

“We are in the process of [starting A380 retirements],” he said at the time. “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. I need two, possibly three, to meet that [overhaul] requirement.”

 

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