Emirates Sending Higher Capacity A380s To Manchester And Frankfurt

Emirates will deploy its two-class, 615-seat A380 – by far the world’s densest-configured double-decker – from Dubai to both Manchester and Frankfurt. While Manchester will see it from October 1st, the day the Northwest England city increases to twice-daily, Frankfurt will say Guten Abend on December 1st. This change means that one of Frankfurt’s two daily A380 flights will no longer have first class.

Emirates A380
Manchester and Frankfurt are set to welcome back the two-class A380. Photo: Emirates.

What’s happening?

Both Frankfurt and Manchester have previously seen the 615-seater on a scheduled basis over a few years. It is, therefore, effectively a return to service; another step in the recovery process. Indeed, the specific flights that will see it this year, as detailed below with all times local, are those that mainly saw it before.

  • EK19 Dubai-Manchester: 14:30-1915
  • EK20 Manchester-Dubai: 2115-07:25+1 (the next day)
  • EK47 Dubai-Frankfurt: 15:25-19:30
  • EK48: Frankfurt-Dubai: 21:20-06:45+1 (the next day)
Emirates' 615-seat A380 network since beginning service
All of these routes have seen the 615-seater. With just 9% of seats premium, it is obviously more about leisure markets. Image: OAG Mapper.

Emirates at Manchester and Frankfurt

The Middle East Big Three airline resumed Dubai to Manchester on September 1st, fittingly precisely 11 years after it first used the A380 on the airport-pair. The UK airport became A380-only in 2019, just before COVID hit. In 2021, however, the B777-300ER was understandably used once again, although it is now all-A380.

Frankfurt, meanwhile, has often been a slightly smaller market than Manchester, as shown below, not helped by normally using the B777-300ER alongside the A380. Nonetheless, Frankfurt’s capacity exceeded one million in both 2016 and 2018. The reason for the German city surpassing Manchester in 2021 is, as you’d expect, because it has been operating for longer this year and at a higher frequency.

Emirates to Manchester and Frankfurt (1)Emirates to Manchester and Frankfurt (1)
In 2019, Frankfurt was just 28,000 seats away from hitting the one million mark again. Source of data: OAG.

The 615-seat A380

Emirates has operated the A380 since December 2008, and its current fleet has seven different configurations. Six of these seven layouts have the same number of first seats (14) and business (76) but with significant differences in economy based on mission length, varying levels of premium demand generally or at specific times of day, and operational requirements.

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The number of economy seats ranges from 338 – on Emirates’ new four-class layout, which trades economy seats for premium economy – to a whopping 557. Of course, the configuration with 557 economy seats is the two-class 615-seater, whose heavy density is from removing first class and having one-quarter fewer business seats (58) than all other configurations.

Emirates A380
A6-EOP, seen here, was the first 615-seat A380. Birmingham, where this photo was taken, has so far had the second-highest amount of capacity by the very high-density aircraft. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Flickr.

34 destinations have seen the 615-seater

Emirates’ first two-class A380 was A6-EOP, handed over to the carrier at Hamburg’s Airbus Finkenwerder production facility on November 4th, 2015. Since then, the 615-seater has been used to 34 destinations from Dubai, analyzing schedules via OAG indicates, including one-offs to Bahrain, Guangzhou, and Islamabad.

The 3,050-mile link to Bangkok has seen it the most, followed by Birmingham, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius, Taipei, Amsterdam, Shanghai Pudong, Beijing, Prague, and Frankfurt. In 12th place is Manchester.

What are your experiences or thoughts on the two-class A380? Let us know in the comments.