Emirates CEO Tim Clark has said that the Airbus A380 is over. The comments came today from the boss of the world’s largest Airbus A380 customer as the industry experiences its worst crisis in history.
The current pandemic has walloped the world of aviation. Fleets across the globe have been grounded. However, the Airbus A380 has been the hardest hit with all but a handful now grounded. The aircraft has become a victim of its design just 15 years after its first flight. However, even the largest A380 customer has come to realize its time may now be up.
Tim Clark’s comments
In an interview with UAE publication The National, Clark commented that he thinks that the world’s biggest jets have reached the end of the road. Clark said:
“We know the A380 is over, the 747 is over”.
He added that he sees demand for these bigger jets slowing, which has been mirrored by actions from both Airbus and Boeing. Over a year ago, Airbus pulled the plug on the entire A380 program. Meanwhile, in the first quarter of 2020, Boeing delivered zero 747s.
What about the future?
Across the industry, we’ve seen a general move from larger, less-efficient four-engined aircraft to smaller twinjets. The smaller aircraft are easier to fill and burn less fuel than their larger cousins. A real win-win. Clark echoed this sentiment, saying:
“The A350 and the 787 will always have a place. They may not be ordered soon, they may have orders deferred and pushed back, but eventually they will come back, and they will be a better fit probably for global demand in the years post the pandemic.”
What does this mean for Emirates?
While Clark’s comments about the A380 may be alarming for the aircraft’s fans, it is unlikely that the giant of the skies will be going anywhere soon. According to Planespotters, the airline has 257 widebody passenger aircraft.
This figure is comprised of 115 Airbus A380s and 142 Boeing 777s. If the airline were never to fly its Airbus A380s again, it would instantly cut its fleet in half. This would be a very drastic measure.
Instead, a more likely scenario could see Emirates returning with a slightly smaller A380 fleet and an increased retirement schedule. At the Dubai Airshow, the UAE flag carrier signed a deal for 50 Airbus A350 aircraft and separately for 30 Boeing 787-9s. In conjunction with other emirates orders, these could be used to replace part of the A380 fleet.
The airline is not expecting to receive its first A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft until 2023. Emirates has eight Airbus A380s still to be delivered. Earlier this year, we reported that the airline was reportedly looking to defer deliveries.