It has been almost a week since Airbus delivered the last ever A380 to its biggest customer of the type, Emirates. The occasion was bittersweet for the European planemaker, and while the Omicron COVID-19 variant put a dampener on celebrations, Airbus made sure it didn’t go unnoticed.
Emirates took delivery of its 123rd and last Airbus A380 last Thursday, marking the end of a program first officially touted by Airbus at the 1990 Farnborough Airshow. While the giant of the skies lasted nowhere near as long as its rival, the Boeing 747, it impacted the industry and became a useful tool, albeit in a niche capacity.
New meets old
Airbus wasn’t going to say goodbye to the last Airbus A380 it built without doing something special. Initially, Emirates had planned to hold quite the celebration for this landmark event, though the rapid emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant meant that this had to be canceled.
To wave goodbye in style, though, Airbus organized a little photo shoot for the not so little plane. F-WWOW, the first Airbus A380 to be built, remains airworthy under the care of Airbus. While it usually flies in and out of Toulouse, it traveled northeast to the planemaker’s Hamburg Finkenwerder facility a week ago.
Once the plane arrived in Hamburg, it was towed across the airfield to say hello… Airbus lined up MSN 001 nose to nose with MSN 272 to create an extraordinary moment where the first Airbus A380 was pictured with the last Airbus A380. Perhaps they will meet one day again, though the chances of this happening co-incidentally seem slim.
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After the photoshoot, it was time to prepare to hand over the aircraft to its new owner. Emirates is and will remain, the largest customer of the Airbus A380. A6-EVS was the airline’s 123rd jet, an interesting number in itself. While the large celebration was off, some form of farewell still took place, with Airbus and Emirates employees assembling to create a puzzle picture.
While there were strict limits on who could be at the airport due to COVID-19, these didn’t apply outside the perimeter fence, with avgeeks from around Germany, Europe, and the world coming for the special occasion.
According to flight data from RadarBox.com, A6-EVS took to the skies for the final Airbus A380 delivery flight at 16:40 on Thursday, just as the sun was setting on Hamburg and the Airbus A380 program. As is typical with the A380’s delivery flights to Dubai, the aircraft initially flew west to skim UK airspace before completing a U-turn to head towards Dubai. It arrived at its new home at 02:50 on Friday morning.
What do you make of the final Airbus A380 delivery flight? Are you sad that the program is now over? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!