Emirates Will Not Retire A Large Number Of Airbus A380s

With Air France most recently announcing the retirement of the A380 from its fleet, aviation enthusiasts are quietly…

Emirates Will Not Retire A Large Number Of Airbus A380s

With Air France most recently announcing the retirement of the A380 from its fleet, aviation enthusiasts are quietly waiting to see which airline will be next to say goodbye to the superjumbo. In reality, only one other airline has confirmed the retirement of some of its A380s – German carrier Lufthansa with seven. Reports last weekend suggested that Emirates may speed up the retirement of a large portion of its A380s. However, a recent interview with the airline’s president is making us reconsider…

Much of Emirates’ A380 fleet is now parked at Dubai World Central until demand picks up again. Photo: Emirates

Straight from the top

The news comes straight from the top: Emirates President Sir Tim Clark. Clark sat down for an interview with the Financial Times, which was published just yesterday. Here is what he had to say about the future of the fleet:

“We’re not getting rid of any of them apart from I think three that are coming out and nine 777s that were scheduled to come out this year… [The A380 has a] place in the Emirates international network on the scale it has before. Albeit not today or fully next year, but the year after I think there will be a place for it and I think it is going to be extremely popular.”

Indeed, the double-decker Airbus A380 has gained a great deal of affection from those who have had the chance to fly on it. Many have commented on its sense of spaciousness and the quietness of the cabin.

In fact, if even more airlines around the world continue the trend of retiring the A380, it could become even more of an attraction for Emirates as one of the few carriers still operating the type.

Air France flying
Air France used its A380s to fly to three continents but has since announced that it will retire the type from its fleet. Photo: Air France

So who’s next?

The most interesting airlines to watch for A380 retirement will be those most similar to Emirates – the other two big Middle East carriers, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. Both of these airlines have their hubs in the same region and are mainly dependent on transit passengers as well.

Qatar Airways’ CEO hinted that the A380 may not be back once passenger traffic levels pick up. Speaking at a media briefing, Akbar al-Baker is quoted by Executive Traveler as saying,

“Qatar Airways is parking its 10 A380s and they will not return for at least a year, and maybe never.”

Then there is Etihad, which is reportedly considering scrapping its Airbus A380 and A350 fleets. The airline operates ten A380s and has been losing out to its Middle East rivals in recent years.

For both airlines – as well as other A380 operators around the world – the cost of maintenance and storage of the aircraft while it is on the ground is adding up fast. If this crisis continues to drag on, it would be advantageous cost-wise to say goodbye sooner and instead focus on the other types of aircraft in their respective fleets.

Airbus A380
Emirates’ A380 is just one of two types that the airline operates. The other is the Boeing 777. Photo: Emirates

For A380 lovers, this latest news should be a welcome relief and a sign that the type will be flying for many more years to come.

Are you relieved to hear that Emirates won’t be retiring many of its A380 aircraft? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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US Government Claims That China Is Blocking US Airline Flights

The United States government has accused China of blocking US airlines from resuming flights to China. United and…

US Government Claims That China Is Blocking US Airline Flights

The United States government has accused China of blocking US airlines from resuming flights to China. United and Delta both want to restart flights to mainland China from June. However, both airlines have not had success at getting permission to restart the flights. So, on May 22nd, the Department of Transportation (DOT) ordered Chinese airlines to file their flight schedules.

Delta is one US airline seeking to resume services to China. Photo: Getty Images

The conflict over air services

In the order issued on May 22nd, the US Department of Transportation stated the following:

“By this Order, the U.S. Department of Transportation (the Department) is taking steps in response to the failure of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (China) to permit U.S. carriers to exercise the full extent of their bilateral right to conduct scheduled passenger air services to China.”

The US-China Civil Air Transport Agreement gives rights for airlines to fly between the two countries– with restrictions. It is not an Open Skies agreement that allows any airline to start up any flight between two points.

Since January, US airlines have drawn down service. At the start of 2020, US and Chinese carriers flew about 325 weekly flights between the two countries. By February, that was down to 20 weekly flights on four Chinese airlines. In mid-March, Chinese airlines increased this to 34 weekly flights. US airlines kept their China schedules suspended.

Chinese airlines
Chinese airlines have maintained service to the US. Photo: Getty Images

On March 26th, the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) issued an order that limited international air service. Chinese carriers could fly only one weekly scheduled passenger flight on one route to any country. Foreign airlines could maintain just one weekly flight on one route to China. For US airlines, such a schedule would be largely inefficient.

The CAAC went further to issue that Chinese and foreign carriers must use international passenger flight schedules from March 12th as a maximum limit for capacity, in terms of frequency of service, that the airlines maintain in any given international market until further notice. While Chinese airlines continued US flights, no US airlines were operating to Mainland China from the US.

Now, both United and Delta are seeking approval to resume service to China starting from June. However, the CAAC has not given any US airline the green light to launch flights between the two countries.

UAL SFO
United wants to resume flights to several cities in China. Photo: Getty Images

So, now, the US DOT has required Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines to file their flight schedules with the US Department of Transportation.

Once these schedules are filed, the DOT will review whether the flight schedules negatively impact public interest and go against the US-China Civil Air Transport Agreement.

American Airlines, Shanghai, Beijing
American Airlines plans on returning to China later this year. Photo: Getty Images

How will this turn out?

This is the first real step the DOT is taking as US airlines await any approval to start flights to China. What comes after this, however, depends on how the US government wants to handle the situation. In a worst-case scenario, both China and the US could restrict (or entirely block) flights between the two countries. However, this would be an extreme turn of events.

China Eastern Boeing 777
The main three Chinese airlines all partner with different US carriers. Photo: Getty Images

China is a lucrative market with plenty of healthy demand between the two countries. Restricting flights would be a huge detriment to tourist and business markets on both ends.

The best way out of this for both sides is to agree to a new set of services that benefits both US airlines and Chinese airlines. United is seeking the most robust China schedules of all US airlines. Meanwhile, Delta is seeking to serve Shanghai– its partner China Eastern’s hub. While neither side may get everything they want, compromise is the best way to avoid an international aviation standoff.

How do you think this situation will be resolved? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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