Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

A380s and Boeing 777s make up Emirates’ entire fleet as it scores a world’s first

The carrier has retired the last of its Airbus A330s and A340s and is now the only airline anywhere with a passenger fleet solely consisting of the giant aircraft from Boeing and Airbus.
An Emirates Boeing 777 is escorted by jets from the UK's royal air force Red Arrows display team over Dubai. Red Arrows Cpl Andy Benson / AP
An Emirates Boeing 777 is escorted by jets from the UK's royal air force Red Arrows display team over Dubai. Red Arrows Cpl Andy Benson / AP

While the old adage biggest is best does not apply in all cases, Emirates clearly believes that when it comes to passenger jets, the argument rings true.

The carrier has bid a fond farewell to its last Airbus A330 – which has flown the equivalent of about 60 trips to the Moon – and its last A340 in active service and will now only operate a fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s – the largest jetliner in the world.

This makes Emirates the first and only airline anywhere to operate a fleet of all-A380s and 777s for its passenger flights.

The carrier recently retired A6-EAK from operational service. The aircraft was the last of the 29 A330s that had been operating as part of its fleet. A6-EAK joined Emirates in 2002 and had flown more than 60,000 hours travelling close to 45 million kilometres in 14 and a half years. The airline has also phased out A6-ERN, the last serving A340 in the fleet, which had joined in 2004 and was originally manufactured in 1999.

Since January 2015, Emirates has retired 18 A330s and five A340s. The average age of the A330s and A340s phased out is 16 and a half years – which is well below the industry standard retirement age of 25 years. The carrier said it plans to further phase out some 25 aircraft over the course of the next two years to ensure that the operating fleet remains modern and efficient while offering customers a higher level of comfort and safety.

The retirement of older aircraft is balanced by the arrival of more modern aircraft into the fleet. This has resulted in Emirates operating one of the youngest fleets in the global industry with an average age of 5.2 years. The two youngest aircraft in the fleet are Emirates’ 85th A380, the first of the new generation A380 aircraft delivered last month, and Emirates’ 125th Boeing 777-300ER, which is less than two weeks old. The all-A380 and 777 fleet will also have less of an environmental impact as both have better fuel efficiency and emissions performance than the retired aircraft.

By the end of this year Emirates will have taken delivery of 36 new aircraft over 12 months – 20 A380s and 16 777s, including the next-generation 777-300ER with upgraded business-class seats and other features including a lower fuel burn ratio. These are due to be delivered from this month.

Emirates is currently the largest operator of the A380 and 777 aircraft with 85 A380s and 160 777s in its fleet. Out of the 234 aircraft worth more than US$112 billion the carrier has in its order book, 150 will be the new Boeing 777X that will be delivered starting in 2020. That aeroplane will feature a range of passenger-focused amenities on board including larger windows, a higher ceiling and a wider cabin in addition to being more fuel efficient than older aircraft.

So for Emirates, it seems big really is beautiful.

chnelson@thenational.ae

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Updated: November 10, 2016 04:00 AM

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