The aviation industry is going through a very tough time nowadays due to the global spread of the corona virus, and with its negative repercussions on the aviation industry, demand is at an all time low for air travel. Analysts say that the current effect is larger that the aftermaths of 9/11 and the 2008 depression combined.
We’ve been hearing everyday so far that airlines are either cutting down their workforce or putting their aircraft into storage, early retirement or sometimes both. We even started to hear about some airlines declaring bankruptcy due to insufficient funds and revenue streams.
On May 7th 2020, Emirates CEO declared that the world’s biggest aircraft is “officially over”. Sir Tim Clark said that the time for jumbo jets has passed and the future (Given the end of the pandemic) lies on the shoulders of the the new generation of super efficient wide bodies, stating that “the A350 and the 787 will always have a place”.
“They may not be ordered soon, they may have orders deferred and pushed back, but eventually they will come back, and they will be a better fit probably for global demand in the years post the pandemic,” he said.
With 115 A380s in its fleet and eight more due to be delivered, the aircraft still forms the backbone of Emirates’ operations and will continue to do so in the near-term until it starts receiving its A350s and 787s in 2023. However, currently all 115 A380’s are grounded at airports across the UAE simply because they are too big and uneconomical to operate with such low load factors these days.
“We have just got to accept that in the next year or two, perhaps a bit longer, demand for air travel is going to be tempered in many respects,” Clark said. “What emerges from this will be in my view almost perhaps 20 or 30 per cent less than what we were experiencing prior to the corona virus kicking in.”
The A380 has been the backbone of Emirates’s operations for almost 12 years now and its largest operator worldwide. What will be the future of the world’s biggest passenger jet with Emirates?
Well, the future situation is clouded as passenger jets of the type are still being built and are scheduled to operate for years with airlines around the world; but with such low demand nowadays their retirments or scrappings are being pushed forwards.
Earlier this year the first A380 (An ex Air France one) was scrapped – You can check our article about that here – and its probable that more will soon follow in these footsteps. On the bright side however, One potential role for the plane to serve – albeit temporarily – is as a freighter. Lufthansa Technik has begun the first conversion of an A380 for cargo operations for an undisclosed airline.
So what will the future hold for the A380? Will we see them converted to cargo? Will the remaining orders be cancelled? Or will they continue to fly in our skies for the foreseeable future? We’ll just have to wait and see.