Have you ever wanted to see how is it onboard the A380? If yes, and never got the chance to do it, you better hurry up. The last A380 ever built left Toulouse on 17th March 2021, with test registration F-WWSH and with the destination Hamburg. There the aircraft was painted and delivered to Emirates with registration A6-EVS, joining the fleet of 118 super-jumbos based in Dubai. Emirates was also one of the reasons for retiring the A380, reducing its order from 162 to 123 aircraft. Even if the stop of production was announced in early 2019, companies like Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, and Air France started to scrap their A380s due to Covid-19 Pandemic, being hit hard by a significant decrease in the number of passengers. Most of Emirates fleet was stored and the company believes that if the number of airplanes decreases, people all around the globe would want to fly with them so their plans are to keep their fleet of A380 well beyond 2030. In May 2020, Air France retired All Airbus A380s immediately rather than waiting until 2022 when the company previously scheduled. Also in April 2020, Lufthansa announced it would retire six of its 14 A380 earlier than scheduled and Emirates considered retiring half of the fleet. In Asia, many companies like ANA, Singapore Airlines, THAI, Malaysia Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Asiana, Korean Air, and Qantas operated the A380. Many of the companies are trying to keep their planes, with ANA hoping that once the tourism will recover, they can send their airplanes packed with Japanese tourists to Hawaii once again but Singapore Airlines not only retired most of their fleet but also transformed one of their airplanes, with the registration 9V-SKC, into a cargo airplane with a new registration: 9H-MIP in order to move light shipments such as boxes of face masks.
Other factors deciding the fate of the A380 were its age, the cabin’s needed upgrades, that cost company a lot. The estimated cost of upgrading economy and business classes, at over $45 million, was just too much for a company like Air France, in the time of a pandemic. The price for an upgrade didn’t worth it also because it was a better idea to buy new airplanes instead of upgrading old ones so the order of ten A380s was replaced by an order of 60 smaller Airbus A220-300s, with 149 passenger capacity. The A380 also had powerful but expensive to operate engines, newer airplanes like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 offering super-efficient, twin-engine planes at an even lower price point.
Airbus predicted at launch that it would sell 1200 A380s superjumbo jets but has sold only 234 of them, with no U.S. passenger airline ever ordering one. Nowadays all companies want more fuel-efficient aircraft because most of the money spent by a company is on fuel. Also, the price of an Airbus A380 was $445.6 million, a few million more than its direct competitor 747-8i which goes for $418.4 million, according to Boeing. The largest A350 and Boeing 787 on the other hand are cheaper at $366.5 million and $338.4 million, respectively.
Until the full retirement of the A380 you still have time to fly onboard this double-decker, if not you can take a sit on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350XWB and buy a piece of an A380 which is sold on the internet for about 30€.