Emirates, by far the biggest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, plans to bring back all of its double-deckers by the end of next year, replenishing its fleet after years of reduced capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in Dubai, Chief Commercial Officer Adnan Kazim said all of the existing A380s would be back in service "close to the end of next year," helping Emirates recover the remaining 20 per cent of capacity that the airline is holding back.
The A380 is a mainstay of operations at Dubai-based Emirates, the largest customer with around 120 planes, of which more than 70 had been revived at the end of September. The interiors of about half the fleet are also getting a makeover including premium economy seating, a configuration that's been popular with customers seeking more comfort than simple economy class but lack the resources to upgrade to business.
Other airlines, from regional rival Etihad Airways PJSC to Deutsche Lufthansa AG, have also brought back some of their A380s, though typically in low numbers. The aircraft was never a big part of any carrier except at Emirates, which has turned itself into the world's largest international airline building a fleet of A380s and the Boeing Co. 777 widebody.
While Airbus SE canceled production of the A380 in 2019 because of a lack of demand, Emirates President Tim Clark has said the superjumbo will remain active at his airline until the mid-2030s.