Emirates sets the date for the world's last Airbus A380 delivery

The mighty superjumbo is ready to make its swan song.

By David Flynn, December 29 2020
Emirates sets the date for the world's last Airbus A380 delivery

Emirates says it will take delivery of the world's last-ever Airbus A380 in May 2022, by which time it expects to have most of its 122-strong superjumbo fleet back in the air.

That puts the Gulf colossus at odds with most other airlines, which are slashing the size of their A380 fleets or retiring the double-decker jet altogether.

Emirates has picked up the keys to three factory-fresh A380s this month – one of which contains the airline's new "signature premium economy" seats – with "five more to come," Emirates President Sir Tim Clark tells AirlineRatings: "two in 2021 and the last three are due in 2022, two in April, and the final one in May."

Emirates' last tranche of Airbus A380s will feature its new premium economy class.
Emirates' last tranche of Airbus A380s will feature its new premium economy class.

Read more: Here is Emirates new premium economy

That May 2022 delivery will mark the end of an era in commercial aviation, with Airbus and Boeing having ended production on their respective A380 and 747 flagships as airlines reset their sights on more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets such as the A350, the Boeing 787 and the much-delayed Boeing 777X.

Read more: The world's biggest jets are headed for the boneyard

But Emirates President Sir Tim Clark sees a sharp recovery in demand for air travel next year as coronavirus vaccines are distributed around the world, leading to a release in pent-up demand “across all segments” led by those who haven’t been able to travel during the pandemic.

“I can see demand for travel moving at pace,” Clark remarked last month. “My own view, and it’s always an optimistic view, is by end of next calendar year or the first quarter of 2022 we’ll have all our A380s flying.”

While being realistic about his options for the A380 – "What can we do with them, sell them? No, we can’t," he tells AirlineRatings – Clark remains sanguine on the superjumbo's future.

"I am a firm believer in the ability of this aircraft to meet the demand post-pandemic. It may be accelerated or maybe a bit slower, but can I see our network being restored to its former glory? Of course, I can. Why not?"

"The global economy is enormously resilient, it has taken enormous knocks in the past and it has always bounced back. The difference this time is, there won’t be that many competitors left with wide-body equipment to do what we can do."

Also read: Is this Emirates' new premium economy seat?


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 110

That is the big question for many airlines and leasing companies, what to do with the A380 once leases expire or a plane many airlines cant fill (TG, MH etc). 

I would expect many very young frames being scrapped, sad to say. 

surely Airbus wants to see some used market for the A380. When things get back to normal in 2021, surely the likes of charter airline Hifly Malta will start flying their A380 again & then maybe add 1 or 2 more.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 372

Pretty sure hifly is handing back the keys on their a380. There is no second hand market 


that could be hifly saying they don't want any costs until covid is over.

Otherwise who would want A380 parts ?

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 372

From FR24:

Hi Fly bid farewell to its Airbus A380 today after just two and a half years of operations with the airline. Hi Fly is the only airline so far to operate the A380 on the secondary market, taking delivery of 9H-MIP (MSN 006) after its lease expired with Singapore Airlines in 2018. In June of 2020, Hi Fly converted the aircraft to carry only cargo, removing the seats in order to transport medical supplies in response to COVID-19. The wet lease specialist has said it will add A330s to its fleet to replace the A380.

& airbus might offer them deal from hell to take it back + more. Apparently before covid hit, hifly malta A380 was very busy.


09 May 2020

Total posts 538

Unlike 747, A380 was not suitable for conversion to freight, given its MTOW and fuel consumption makes it uneconomical unless they are carrying low density items since their design is optimised for more moving space per pax rather than as many pax as possible. 

Ironically even the Airbus own A350 carry comparable wt (actually the newer versions carry more wt than A380) for less running costs.

So in the short run converted A380 may be a solution for freight network expansion using cheap used airframe (since the second hand market for them is in the pits) but in the long run they are not cheap to run and will at most gain 3-5 years life extension.

Really a sad end to a much loved product by the pax, but a relief to the execs and accountants of airline companies.

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