Emirates chief backs A380 'for next decade' despite blow to long haul travel

Sir Tim Clark says superjumbo will remain the airline’s flagship aircraft despite threat from coronavirus pandemic

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark on Monday said the A380 superjumbo will remain the airline’s flagship aircraft for the next decade, despite the impact of coronavirus on long haul travel.

His comments came as Emirates received the first of three A380 aircraft due to be delivered this month.

The world’s biggest long-haul carrier, Emirates has been particularly badly affected as demand all but dried up on its key routes but Clark said: “The A380 has been a success story for Emirates, and this is reflected in the strong customer interest wherever we’ve deployed the aircraft over the years.

“We look forward to introducing our Premium Economy experience, which will make its debut on an A380 in the coming months, and we will continue to invest in our world-class A380 product experience. The A380 will remain our flagship for the next decade, and we will re-deploy it on more routes as travel demand returns.”

The A380 currently flies to Cairo, Amman, Paris, London, Guangzhou, Manchester and Moscow and recently services have been ramped up to four daily A380s on London Heathrow and daily flights to Moscow.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark

The double-decker is also demonstrating its versatility by being utilised as a ‘mini-freighter’ on select cargo charter operations to transport urgently required cargo across the Emirates network during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, Clark said he expects to see a sharp recovery in demand for air travel next year as coronavirus vaccines are distributed around the world, meaning the carrier’s full fleet of jumbo Airbus A380 jets could return to the skies by early 2022.

“I can see demand for travel moving at pace,” Clark said. “My own view, and it’s always an optimistic view, is by end of next calendar year or the first quarter of 2022 we’ll have all our A380s flying,” he told Bloomberg TV.

Since its entry into the Emirates fleet 12 years ago, the A380 has been the airline’s flagship and a customer favourite, with signature elements such as A380 Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa.

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