The era of the Superjumbo is coming to an end as the last Airbus A380 ever built has taken off for the first test flight time, departing from the company's headquarters in Toulouse, France, headquarters on Thursday.
The plane flew to Hamburg, Germany, where it will be painted in the livery of its owner, Emirates, before being delivered to the airline.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury congratulated his team for their work on the superjumbo, tweeting: Well done #TeamAirbus for your contributions over the years - looking forward to supporting this iconic aircraft & its customers for many years, delivering best-in-class passenger experience.
Emirates, the company that adquired the last A380, reportedly tried to cancel its remaining order for the A380 last year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge downturn in air travel, but Airbus objected as the planes were already under construction. Emirates took delivery of three new superjumbos in December.
The plane, registration A6-EVS, will join Emirates' existing fleet of 117 A380s, the largest superjumbo fleet in the world.
The last Emirates @Airbus A380 to be produced set out on its first flight from Toulouse to Hamburg where it will prepare to join our fleet in Dubai. #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter #EmiratesA380 pic.twitter.com/N5WN4Z1Nxu— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 23, 2021
The departure of the last ever A380 from its manufacturer's base marks the end of an era for the superjumbo, the largest passenger aircraft of all time.
The plane launched to massive fanfare in 2007 with its first customer Singapore Airlines. Its first commercial flight was from Singapore to Sydney on October 25 that year.
The A380 was a revelation in air travel - capable of carrying more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class layout, with certification for up to 853 passengers in an all-economy layout (something that some airlines raised the prospect of, but never implemented).
For its part, last year Bloomberg reported that Boeing’s classic jumbo 747, which the US company has continued building due to demand for the freighter version, is likely to cease production in two years.