Emirates took delivery of its 123rd Airbus A380 aircraft this week. It will be the final A380 to join the fleet, and the last ever A380 to be manufactured.
Emirates was the first airline to order the A380, signing a contract at the Farnborough Air Show in 2000. It doubled down with a bigger order at the Dubai Air Show in 2001, despite the 9/11 terror attacks having shaken air travel just six weeks previously.
(Despite being the first to sign, the launch customer for the A380 was Singapore Airlines, not Emirates, in October 2007. The first few to be delivered were overweight, requiring compensation to be paid due to their increased fuel burn.)
The A380 will remain the backbone of the Emirates fleet for many years to come. It has recently announced a major retrofit programme which will see 52 of its existing A380 aircraft fitted with Premium Economy cabins and other enhancements.
The Emirates ‘hub and spoke’ model is not easily replicated, however. Whilst British Airways has brought half of its A380 fleet back into service, with the rest likely to follow, other airlines have retired their fleets entirely.
Fuel efficiency is not great, due to the four engines and the lack of composite materials – which have done wonders to lighten the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 – but, when full, the numbers look better. The issue for airlines is how easy it will be to fill such a large aircraft in the next few years. The other benefit of the A380 – boosting capacity at slot constrained airports – is also less of an issue at the moment.
If you’ve never flown an A380, it is worth seeking out. Earlier this week we covered the A380 routes that British Airways is operating next Spring and Summer.
If you never flew on the top deck of a Boeing 747 you have the novelty of sitting higher off the runway, and you will be shocked by how quiet it is. You genuinely cannot tell, during take off, when you have left the runway.
How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (January 2022)
Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Emirates Skywards miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Emirates Skywards miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.