Emirates Announces The Return Of The Airbus A380 To Moscow

Emirates has announced that the A380 will be making a return to Moscow Domodedovo Airport starting this Friday, 18th September. The decision to add the A380 comes just a week after flights to Moscow resumed, signaling high demand. Emirates is slowly expanding it’s route map and A380 services, with an eye to having its entire network running by next summer.

Emirates A380
With Moscow this week, Emirates has resumed A380 services to six cities globally. Photo: Emirates

Quick upgrade

Emirates resumed flights to Moscow only last Friday, with a twice-weekly service on Friday and Saturday. However, the airline seems to have seen strong demand from the city, quickly upgrading capacity from a 777-300ER to the A380. The schedule for the flights between Dubai and Moscow Domodedovo remains the same for now.

On Friday, the flight departs from Dubai at 10:10 and lands in Moscow at 14:25 local time, as flight number EK 133. The return flight departs Moscow at 17:35 and lands in Dubai at 23:35 local time, as EK 134.

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Emirates resumed flights to Moscow last week using a 777-300ER. Photo: Emirates

On Saturday, EK131 will depart Dubai at 16:15 and arrive in Moscow at 20:30 local time. The return leg will leave Moscow at 23:20 and arrives in Dubai at 05:30 local time, a short red-eye flight. Flight time both ways is just over five hours.

The decision to upgrade to an A380 is one that is likely driven by passenger demand from Moscow. Emirates restarted flights after nearly six months (after the original grounding in March), which could mean it’s seeing pent-up demand. Moscow is the first city where Emirates has upgraded to the A380 this quickly.

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The A380 returns to service

We’ve talked about the importance of the A380 to Emirates and how the airline heavily relies on the type. The A380 comprises 45% of Emirates’ fleet and the airline has been slowly deploying the type to high-demand markets. In the last two months, since July, Emirates has resumed A380 services to six cities: Paris, London Heathrow, Cairo, Guangzhou, Toronto, and now Moscow.

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Emirates resumed A380 services in July, before any operator other than China Southern. Photo: Getty Images

While Emirates is only using a fraction of it’s A380s, the airline remains bullish on its future. It is not retiring any of the types early and expects all of its 110-odd A380 to be back in the skies in 2022. However, this timeline could be affected by a slower recovery as Emirates is only adding the A380 to a market where demand exists, which will remain limited for now.

Strengthening the network

Emirates has been rebuilding its network since flights resumed in May. The airline is now flying to 85 destinations through its hub in Dubai. This represents over a 50% resumption in Emirates’ vast network, a promising sign for the future. The airline is aiming to have its entire network of nearly 150 destinations back in action by next summer, an optimistic target.

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Emirates is serving over 50% of its network, an impressive recovery. Photo: Emirates

The carrier also announced that it would be restoring employee salaries to 100% of pre-pandemic levels starting next month, making it one of the only major carriers to do so. The news comes after the airline made deep cuts to its staff and received over $2bn in state aid this year.

For now, it seems will continue growing its network and add A380s to markets where it sees rising demand. However, a full recovery is still contingent on a successful vaccine in the next year.