First flight of the last ever Airbus A380
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The last Airbus A380 has emerged from the manufacturer’s final assembly line in Toulouse. As the penultimate unit of the type ever to be built was caught on camera during a rejected take-off test Tuesday morning, the last of the Giant of the Skies can be glimpsed in the background. The aircraft is destined for Emirates – just like all but three of the A380 to be built after Airbus announced the end of the program two years ago.
The tail fin and engine cowlings are already adorned with the Gulf carrier’s livery, while the main fuselage remains industrially chic.
It has been given test registration F-WWAM and was built in July last year.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, an aviation expert said he was “heartbroken as an aviation fan.”
However, other aviation admirers may have mixed feelings said Dan from Nonstop Dan, a YouTube vlog that creates content on aviation and airlines.
Speaking of his admiration for the aircraft, Dan said: “The A380 is unparalleled in terms of its onboard comfort, not only from a passenger experience, but it’s just the pinnacle of aviation.”
He continued: “It is as big and as cool as anything can get, so seeing the end of this era, and a move towards smaller planes, is sad to see, it shows that the industry is not focusing on the glitz and glamour, and is now just about efficiency.”
However, he did mention the positives of the move.
Considering the impact on the environment, he said: “We need efficiency more than ever before, we can’t just be doing stuff because it’s impressive or prestige, we need to think what is best for the planet.”
Speaking of the fate of the aircraft, Dan said: “This is the nail in the coffin for an aircraft that really symbolises a very different time in the industry.”
Airbus announced that it would cease production of the Giant of the Skies two years ago in February 2019.
This followed a deal with its largest customer, Emirates, who agreed to swap orders for 39 of the A380 for 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s.
That left Airbus with 17 outstanding orders for the two-storied jet, 14 for Emirates, and three for All Nippon Airways.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a role in the demise of the airline industry over the last two years.
The aviation industry is now expected to lose around £36billion during 2021, according to new IATA forecasts, more than a quarter higher than the £28billion it predicted last December.
During the peak of the pandemic, many airlines grounded much of their fleet, and the A380 was no exception.
Only a handful of airlines were able to operate successfully during the crisis, with Qatar Airways being one of the few to maintain a large selection of international flights.
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During the pandemic, Qantas moved quickly to send all of its A380s for years-long storage in the Mojave Desert.
To many, this signalled the end of the superjumbo’s time in the fleet, with Qantas saying the jet is unlikely to fly before 2023.
However, recently, CEO Alan Joyce has reaffirmed a future for the A380, and reports suggest that the plane could even return to service sooner than predicted.
British Airways haven’t flown their A380s since the grounding in March, although a few flights have restarted in recent weeks.
While the superjumbos haven’t been flying, CEO Sean Doyle confirmed that the airline remains committed to the A380.
Moreover, the planes have been undergoing all required maintenance and moving around for storage in the last few months.
In total, the A380 program cost an estimated £25.47billion— and most of that money came from European taxpayers.
With more efficient A350s now set to fly the flag for airbus, John Leahy, once the company’s most senior salesman said: “All the fiasco around the A380 made the A350 definitely the best aeroplane program we’ve ever had.”
Last week, over 14,000 employees of Airbus and its subsidiary Premium Aerotec took part in “warning” strikes across Germany.
The protest is directed against plans announced in April to cut thousands of jobs in civil aircraft production across Europe.
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