Only 1 Left: Airbus Delivers The Penultimate A380

As we edge ever closer to the end of an era, Airbus has delivered its penultimate A380 of the program. Today, the aircraft left Hamburg en route to its new owner in Dubai, Emirates. The last ever new A380 is expected to follow next week.

Emirates has taken delivery of the penultimate A380 (not pictured). Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Alvin Man – Simple Flying

The Airbus A380 is a great aircraft that fits perfectly into some of the missions it is used for. However, it is sadly quite a niche machine that is not particularly useful to most carriers. Additionally, the four-engine and giant appears right as carriers were looking to switch to two engines with an increased focus on the environment.

The penultimate A380 delivery

While a new aircraft delivery is typically a time to celebrate, the delivery of A6-EVR will be a bittersweet moment. While it is excellent that Emirates is taking another new Airbus A380 featuring its premium economy cabin, it also means that the A380 program is one step closer to ending.

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A6-EVR is the 253rd A380 to be built by Airbus, though it has the manufactures serial number 271 (the European planemaker didn’t build some serial numbers attributed to canceled A380 orders, explaining the discrepancy). A6-EVR took its first flight on February 11th of this year, making it just 0.83 years old. The jet departed Airbus’ Hamburg Finkenwerder plant at 19:11 bound for Dubai.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Return
The final delivery will mark the end of an era for new passenger quad jets. Photo: Getty Images

It had been due to be delivered by Airbus next year. Still, following the popularity of the Emirates premium economy cabin, the Dubai-based giant sought to speed up delivery to November 2021. Obviously, the manufacturer didn’t meet this target for two of the jets.

One more week of the Airbus A380 program?

It seems that the Airbus A380 program, which Airbus killed off in mid-February 2019, will come to an end by the end of 2021. Multiple sources suggest that the final ever Airbus A380 delivery, A6-EVS (also bound for Emirates), is penciled in for next Thursday.

This would mark the end of an era for Airbus, since the first A380 flight on April 27th, 2005, and comes a little over 14 years after the aircraft entered service. Ironically, the Airbus A380 program will end sooner than the much older (50+ years) Boeing 747 program, scheduled to end next year. Typically a huge event would be called to mark the end of a program. While Emirates was understood to be planning a large celebration, it now seems that it will be a relatively low-key affair after recent COVID-19 developments.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Scrapped
The delivery of Emirates’ first Airbus A380 was a grand affair! Photo: Airbus

While it will be the end of the era for Airbus, it isn’t necessarily the end of the Airbus A380 program by a long way. Emirates is expected to operate the giant of the skies well into the 2030s, while other airlines have committed to flying the type for the foreseeable future. Earlier this year, British Airways signed a maintenance agreement for its entire fleet, stretching to as far as 2027.

Some other Airbus A380 operators confirmed to be bringing the giant of the skies back are yet to reveal their retirement plans.

What do you make of the penultimate Airbus A830 delivery? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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