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I t took me 17 years but I finally made it to Toulouse. After all the conferences, forecasts and aircraft order releases, it was interesting to see Airbus’ commercial, defence and space operation at first hand.
Sometimes you toil away at angles and sometimes they land in your lap, and fortunately in this case, the chance to visit Airbus on the eve of Emirates receiving its 100th A380, and The Dubai Airshow 2017, was fortuitous timing.
Anniversaries are always a good time to reflect. I’ve been casting my mind back to the Dubai Airshow 2007, in what seems like another aviation era; it would be another year before Emirates received its first superjumbo, and at that time, it placed an order for 11 additional A380s, taking its overall tally to 58 aircraft.
Interestingly, while the double-deckers have been flying to DXB ever since, at the 2007 show Emirates ordered 50 A350s only to cancel them in 2014 – after it ordered a record 150 B777Xs at the 2013 Dubai Airshow (Back to 2017, and the A350 hangar looked busy with Asian and Gulf carrier customers).
There can be no doubt it has been the ‘decade of the superjumbo’ as far as Emirates is concerned, and its ongoing support has been pivotal to the model’s production.
Airbus maintains the A380 is the only real solution to airport congestion as air travel is projected to double, but the debate between hub and point-to-point continues to rumble on, amid ongoing airspace and airport capacity challenges. Facing unending political, security and economic challenges, the Emirates A380 has continued to connect passengers to global hubs – and just as importantly, secondary cities – via DXB.
Without doubt, the A380 has served Emirates well in its first nine years – and I suspect premium passengers will still be enjoying a shower, and raising a glass at the onboard lounge, in 2026.