Emirates takes delivery of three new Airbus A380 superjumbos

The world's largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380, already faced waning popularity with airlines prior to the global pandemic.

But with COVID-19 greatly reducing demand for air travel worldwide, airlines have had little need for a giant plane that typically carries more than 500 passengers. Qantas has put its A380s into deep storage in a Californian desert, with no expectation they'll be flying again until 2023.

Dubai-based carrier Emirates, on the other hand, has just taken delivery of three brand new A380s from Airbus - the first new superjumbos delivered this year and among the last batch to be built before production of the A380 ceases in 2021.

While other airlines have found the A380 too big and expensive in comparison with newer, smaller long-haul planes like the A350 and Being 787 Dreamliner, the superjumbo has been a success story for Emirates, according to airline president Sir Tim Clark.

"This is reflected in the strong customer interest wherever we've deployed the aircraft over the years," he said.

"The A380 has helped us efficiently serve customer demand at slot constrained airports and also on trunk routes, supporting our long-haul hub operations. Importantly, with the space and technology on this aircraft, we've been able to introduce new concepts onboard that have transformed the flying experience for the better."

Among those notable concepts was the introduction of the world's first on-board shower in the first-class bathroom.

Emirates is the biggest customer for the A380, with 118 in its fleet; next is Singapore Airlines, with just 19 superjumbos,  some of which are currently parked in the Australian desert near Alice Springs for storage.

"The A380 will remain our flagship for the next decade, and we will re-deploy it on more routes as travel demand returns," Clark said.

Of the three A380s delivered in December, one features Emirates first premium economy class. The airline is yet to reveal the full details of what the premium economy cabin will look like.

See also: Last Qantas A380 makes final flight ahead of desert storage

See also: Airline review: Inside Emirates' magnificent A380 first class suites