The last-production A380 superjumbo completes its first flight

Final double-decker from Airbus is destined for Emirates airline in Dubai

Two years after Airbus announced the end of its A380 production, the final superjumbo has taken flight for the first time.

Aircraft MSN 272, the last A380 to be built, completed its first flight in France on Wednesday, sporting Emirates colours on the tail.

Departing its Toulouse base around 1pm, the pilot of the A380 made a low pass and performed a wing-wave, before heading towards Germany at a cruising altitude of 43,000 feet.

The jet landed at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport just after 4pm, after a flight time of about three hours and 10 minutes.

There is still a way to go for the final A380 aircraft, which will now undergo work, including painting, in Airbus's Hamburg facility.

It is expected to be delivered to the UAE in 2022.

Emirates confirmed to The National that it has five A380 jets still outstanding for delivery, including MSN 272.

500 tonnes and an 80-metre wingspan

Weighing more than 500 tonnes, Airbus's A380 consists of more than four million parts and has a wingspan of almost 80 metres. Emirates's fleet has 115 A380s and has been flying them for 13 years.

The airline turned the double-decker jet into a luxury flying machine, with private suites, shower spas and a communal bar.

Covid-19: the end of an era

Since the Covid-19 pandemic thwarted demand for passenger travel, Emirates has grounded the majority of its A380 fleet.

After being entirely out of service for four months in 2020, the airline reinstated A380s on a small number of passenger routes. The plane is also being used as a "mini-freighter" on select cargo charter operations.

In December, Emirates took delivery of three A380 jets, one of which was fitted with Emirates' first Premium Economy cabin.

The airline previously said it hopes to return the majority of its superjumbos to service in 2022.

The end of Airbus' A380 production was propelled by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting dip in passenger demand for travel.

Previously called the "aircraft that reimagined flying", without people to fill the hundreds of seats on these colossal-sized jets, many airlines around the world were forced to retire or ground their A380s.

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