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It’s no secret that airlines around the globe have been facing extreme liquidity challenges after COVID19 forced countries to close borders and obliterated air travel demand. Airlines have been doing everything they possibly can to decrease costs and preserve cash.
One popular method has been to retire planes that require a lot of overhead.
Despite their popularity among passengers, over the past few years, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 “Superjumbos” have become less popular with airlines because of their high maintenance, operational, and fuel costs compared to the A350 or B787.
Many airlines had already begun to set timelines to retire these behemoths even before the pandemic obliterated travel demand.
EMIRATES AIRLINES PRESIDENT
In a recent and wide ranging interview with The National, Emirates’ Airline President Sir Tim Clark was asked if the downturn of the global economy will reduce the appetite of carriers for wide-body planes?
Mr. Clark replied:
“We know the A380 is over, the 747 is over but the A350 and the 787 will always have a place.”
If there is anyone in the industry that will understand the associated costs of operating an A380, it’s Emirates.
With 115 A380’s currently in their fleet (and 8 more to be delivered), the airplane comprises nearly 50% of the Emirates’ entire fleet.
And despite Emirates’ ability to operate the A380 profitably (even before the pandemic), the airline has been making moves to restructure the fleet, moving away from exclusively operating the A380 and 777 to incorporate more fuel-efficient planes like the A350 and B787.
For comparison, the second largest operator of the A380 is Singapore Airlines with 24 airplanes. Emirates single-handedly keeps the production of this plane afloat.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about my heartbreak as I found out that several airlines had decided to retire their 747s early given the weak demand for air travel.
The demise of the 747 and 380 is sad. The 380 is one of my favorite planes and as I said several weeks ago, I’ve never flown on a 747.
Fortunately, every airline isn’t retiring the 747 immediately so hopefully I will have the opportunity to fly on it before it disappears permanently.
What do you think about Clarks assessment of 747 and 380? Have you flown on either plane? What was your experience?
I have great memories of flying on the queen as a kid. But I’ve never flown the A380…. Most of my international travel the latest few years has been on Delta so A350, 767, even a 757 back from Europe once. But looks like I’ll still have a chance as I don’t see them mothballing all of those 380s right away. But the clock is ticking…
Yeah, you have time. p.s. Emirates was the first A380 I ever flew on (LAX-DXB) and it’s worth the experience. I was comfortable even in economy. That was several years ago. Now I’m trying to figure out how to sit up front. Emirates doesn’t make it easy.