Emirates is, of course, well known for the high number of Airbus A380s in its fleet. We ask: What will the carrier look like when they eventually have to be retired?
This incredible aircraft type has been in the carrier’s fleet since 2008, which is around 15 years ago.
So, what are the next 15 going to look like for the airline, but also for this aircraft type that has propelled the UAE within global travel?
Still Another 28 Emirates A380s Yet To Be Reactivated…
As per data from Planespotters.net (Accurate to the 25th of May 2023), there are 91 Airbus A380s currently in service in the Emirates fleet.
This leaves around 28 currently parked and yet to be reactivated, which Emirates is continuing to do so at a steady pace.
With Summer demand continuing to skyrocket off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be assured that the parked jets will come back to service sometime soon.
Emirates has, of course, even remained committed to the type, even repainting one of its A380s into an updated livery design.
On the passenger front, Emirates has a lot of planes on order. There are around 195 aircraft currently on order, which are broken down into the following:
- 115 Boeing 777Xs.
- 50 Airbus A350-900s.
- 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Such a figure is higher than the 119 Airbus A380s currently in the carrier’s arsenal, with these new aircraft complementing the following that they have in their fleet already:
- 1 Airbus A319.
- 144 Boeing 777 Family aircraft.
At a current fleet count of 264 aircraft, the 195 aircraft on order would bring the fleet to around 459 aircraft, provided no other units are retired or removed from the fleet.
Minus the A380s, when they are all retired, this would bring the total to around 340 aircraft.
A380 Retirements = Less Capacity On Offer?
Emirates’ Airbus A380s is well known for offering significant amounts of capacity offerings, especially in its two-class configurations.
On high-density flights, these are utilized, where Emirates can carry 615 passengers per flight on this setup, which is a considerable feat in itself.
However, with the carrier having around 195 aircraft on order, with most of that being on the 777X with Boeing, this could potentially replace the stop-gap in capacity offerings.
It would have to be the case that more flights are added to high-density destinations on a daily basis potentially.
Because, after all, the 777X could only handle 384 passengers in a standard configuration. Could Emirates go for a two-class set-up and potentially sit more onboard? There is some food for thought.
What remains clear is that whenever Emirates chooses to retire the Airbus A380 completely from its fleet, it will mark the end of an era.
Looking ahead, as more retirements take place, we could begin to see an overall different format for Emirates, especially as capacity offerings could reduce on certain high-density routes.
With Airbus showing no signs of bringing the program to life, despite Emirates’ past calls to do so, this will force the carrier to adapt and change with the times.
The next 20 years will be an interesting one to watch, especially as other carriers globally try to occupy the same market share that they are doing. The A380 was vital for that.