Emirates Wants Airbus to Build a ‘New’ A380

August 15, 2022

Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates' CEO Tim Clark revealed that he wants Airbus to build a replacement to the massive A380 superjumbo, which is no longer in production.

Clark wants Airbus to produce a replacement for the A380. This comes nearly a year after the last A380 was delivered to Emirates and after Airbus has ceased production of the aircraft altogether. 

The A380 is a Fuel Hog and Not as Efficient as the Newer Twin-Engine Options

However, Airbus has no plans to restart production of the A380, as global demand is now calling for smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Clark has been a vocal supporter of the A380 aircraft. The Airbus A380 has been a key asset to Emirates' operations, helping the airline connect passengers from all corners of the earth through its Dubai hub. Clark has stated that he believes the aircraft to be far from obsolete, citing its many benefits for the airline's business.

Emirates A380 Flights are Full, Which Fills the Capacity Argument

"The notion that the A380 was a spent force was always a little bit of a difficult one for us to swallow," Clark told CNN Travel.

"I was chuckling to myself, thinking 'Wait and see.' We started flying the A380 into Heathrow six times a day in October of last year, and we haven't had a seat on any of them since."

The Airbus A380 project was seen as a commercial failure by the manufacturer, despite the fact that they managed to sell hundreds of aircraft. This is due to the fact that they did not receive enough orders to consider the project a success, according to the plane maker. Emirates is one airline that has a large fleet of A380s, with 118 in total. Even though the pandemic spelled the end for many jumbo jets, Emirates had little choice but to hold on to the jumbo.

The Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner have been great for airlines, as they allow for more efficient point-to-point long haul routes. However, the A380 has been struggling to keep up, as it is less fuel efficient, mainly due to having 4 engines (the A350 and 787 are twin-engine jets) and weighing more.

Emirates is retiring its A380 fleet in the mid-2030s. The airline has announced that it is ordering 50 new aircraft to help fill the role played by the A380. The new planes, which include the fuel-efficient A350 and the Boeing 777X, will help the airline continue to serve its customers in a reliable and efficient manner. Unfortunately, neither the A350 nor the 777X can rival the capacity of the A380. Still, these planes will help to improve the airline's overall fleet and operations.

The Cost (for a new Jumbo) Would be Huge, and It Wouldn't Be Very 'Green'

I don't think Tim Clark will get his wish. He makes a compelling case in terms of outright capacity. A few things to consider that make this (likely) a non-starter: How many other airlines would be interested in another jumbo. Based on the fact that (most) all the other carriers retired the A380 they would not be interested. Airbus would not build a plane for one customer. Also, with pressure on the airlines to reduce carbon emissions, another 4-engine jet wouldn't exactly fit that narrative. And, another 4 engine jumbo would be VERY expensive.

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