Earlier this year some big announcements were made regarding the future of the Airbus A380. Emirates has been by far the world’s biggest supporter of the A380, as they’ve ordered over 120 of them, and currently have over 110 in their fleet.
Unfortunately they seemed to be the only airline where the A380 economics made sense, though they realized that they couldn’t singlehandedly keep the aircraft type alive forever, and it was time to develop a new plan.The airline added the first A380 to its fleet back in 2008 and announced earlier this year that it plans to retire them fully in the 2030s. As Emirates cut their final delivery by 39 aircraft, Airbus announced that it would cease producing the A380 in 2020. The final deliveries to Emirates will take place in 2021. This makes them the last airline to still have A380s on order, apart from one for ANA.
Emirates President Tim Clark has confirmed that they’ve already deactivated two Airbus A380s, and are parking them at Dubai World Central. This isn’t just a temporary thing, but rather these planes won’t ever operate commercial flights again.
“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.”
This makes sense, but wow… Emirates will essentially be using A380s for parts. I’m sure the math makes sense when you consider the cost of an overhaul plus how much they’d otherwise have to spend on landing gears for other planes.
But still, to see fairly new A380s being used for parts is quite interesting.