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Emirates celebrates A380’s 10yrs of operation: Is the party over?

Emirates is celebrating 10 years of A380 operations. Since its first flight to New York from Dubai on 1 August 2008, the Emirates A380 has carried more than 105 million passengers, clocking in more than 1.5 billion kms on 115,000 flights, equivalent to 39,000 trips around the globe.

Emirates is the world’ largest operator of the A380 aircraft, with 104 double-decker aircraft flying to 49 cities on 6 continents on scheduled services with more than 80 daily departures from Dubai, the airline’s hub. In addition to its 104-strong fleet, the airline has a further 58 A380s on order. Today, Emirates also operates the world’s shortest A380 route from Dubai to Kuwait and the world’s longest A380 non-stop route from Dubai to Auckland. The airline has also grown its scheduled services to major airports and has also successfully grown demand at regional airports such as Manchester, Brisbane, Kuala Lumpur, Houston, Prague, Kuwait, Mauritius, Johannesburg and Sao Paulo.

The Emirates A380 has also had a significant impact on the aerospace industry and its high-value supply chains, fuelling hundreds of thousands of jobs for skilled workers, and creating significant economic benefits in countries which have A380 production facilities.

Read: Emirates airlines posts stellar financial performance: Here’s how it did it

Positive impact on societies and economies

The Emirates A380 programme supports manufacturing jobs across the global aircraft manufacturing supply chain, and Airbus estimates that Emirates’ A380 orders support 41,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Europe alone. The estimated Europe-wide impact of Emirates’ A380 investment contributes $3.97 billion to the GDP of the region.

In January 2018, Emirates ordered a further 36 A380s worth $16 billion, taking the airline’s commitment for the aircraft to 178 units, and further generating catalytic benefits for European economies with the airline’s impending deliveries beyond 2020.

Since 2013, the Emirates A380 has also conducted humanitarian ferry flights in partnership with the Airbus Foundation, transporting over 120 tonnes of food and vital emergency equipment to those in need.

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Exclusive expert analysis- Is the A380 defunct? 

Saj Ahmad- Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst – StrategicAero Research told AMEinfo that the A380 has been a big money-spinner for Emirates and that the airline exploits it’s Dubai hub with this behemoth to great effect.

“Aside from providing Airbus with thousands of jobs, Emirates’ commitment to the A380 underscores how the airline has utilized its organic growth strategy to capture traffic in large numbers, which has, in turn, propelled Dubai International as the world’s busiest international airport,” says Saj.

“That said, Emirates is also planning its future beyond the A380 too. No airplane lasts forever and its reality that as it ages, new and more efficient inductees in 777X and the 787 will start to form the backbone of Emirates’ long-haul fleet for the next decade and beyond.”

Saj adds that the A380, as a program, has been a financial choker for Airbus and with Singapore Airlines already jettisoning five early build A380s after just ten years demonstrates that the airplane has a fixed shelf life and will struggle to be remarketed elsewhere.

“Emirates’ plans to induct up to 200 777X’s will primarily replace today’s 777s, but by the time it takes its 200th 777X delivery, the A380 fleet will be operationally expensive and economically inefficient – so it stands to reason that they’ll procure more 777Xs and 787s going forward,” opines Saj.

“For the here and now – Emirates is enjoying it’s dominance thanks to the allure of the A380 for its passengers and there’s no denying that the airline has harmonized its growth and pricing in tandem with the economies of scale that it has with its huge widebody fleet.”

The Emirates A380 has also touched down in 73 airports for one-off and scheduled services, special commemorative flights, chartered flights, test flights and other operational deployments and the aircraft has been instrumental in maximizing efficiencies at slot constrained airports.

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Inspiring a better customer experience

Across all classes, over 120 million meals have been served on the A380 since 2008. First Class customers have consumed 2.7 million tins of caviar, and more than 3.5 million fresh flowers have been loaded on A380 flights.

Emirates multi-award winning in-flight entrainment system, ice, offers unparalleled choice and quality when it comes to entertainment, with more than 3,500 channels. The Emirates A380 Economy Class seats feature among the widest individual in-seat screens in the industry, measuring in at 13.3 inches.

Emirates also has 1,500 flight deck crew and over 20,000 cabin crew specially trained to operate its A380 fleet.

Read: What key role is Emirates playing to keep UAE-US open skies open?

Dubai – a global center for A380 maintenance and operations

As the largest operator of the Airbus A380, Emirates’ engineering division, based in Dubai, has become a global leader in A380 maintenance. The airline operates modern, extensive facilities that include seven heavy maintenance hangars and four light maintenance hangars that can all accommodate the A380. Emirates Engineering has also amassed the experience, know-how, and infrastructure to provide the most comprehensive Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and services in the world, with 157 A380 C-Checks conducted to date. In addition, more than 25 A380 aircraft have been repainted and 16 large aircraft decals are currently emblazoned on Emirates’ A380s, in addition to all A380 aircraft displaying the Expo 2020 nose decals. All aircraft repainting and decal applications are completed at the airline’s Aircraft Appearance Centre in Dubai.

In 2013, the world’s largest A380 hub welcomed the opening of Concourse A, a first of its kind purpose-built Concourse dedicated to A380 operations. The $3.3 billion facility offers travelers unprecedented convenience with direct boarding to the A380 aircraft from the First and Business class lounges, as well as other world-class amenities.