The last aircraft of the Airbus A380 model made its first flight this Wednesday from the European group’s complex in Toulouse (southern France), where it has been assembled, to Hamburg (northern Germany), where the cabin will be fitted out.
The aircraft, which is the 272nd produced on the A380 assembly line in Toulouse, will be completed in the third quarter of the year for delivery to Emirates, at a date yet to be set, probably as early as 2022, a spokesman for the European aeronautical manufacturer told EFE on Thursday.
Emirates is by far the first customer of this model, with an order backlog of 123 units in total.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) company had ordered 162 in total, but swapped a portion for smaller aircraft after Airbus announced in January 2019 that it was ceasing production because demand was insufficient.
The factory that has served for the assembly of these giant aircraft should be transformed into a new production line for the Airbus A320 family, although the final decision has not yet been taken.
The launch of the A380 at the end of 2000 (its first test flight took place in April 2005) was a technological and industrial feat, but turned out to be a commercial fiasco.
It was designed to cope with the possible saturation of the airports of the world’s major metropolises, but the evolution of aviation was not what Airbus had envisaged for it.
It has been superseded by other models, which, although not as large (such as Airbus’ own A350 or Boeing’s 787), are much more fuel-efficient and more versatile in terms of adapting to developments such as the emergence of many airports with intercontinental flights.