Emirates has always been one to go big. After all, it has the world’s largest fleet of the world’s largest passenger plane. On Wednesday, the airline will go big with its flights to the United Kingdom with four Airbus A380 flights planned, alongside one Boeing 777.
Despite a total of 242 units delivered to airlines, the Airbus A380 is mostly absent from the skies. The aircraft has two too many engines and one too many passenger decks to make it economical to run during the current demand crisis. However, a handful of airlines continue to operate the type on their busiest routes.
Emirates’ UK A380 surge
At the moment, Dubai-based carrier Emirates is operating two A380 flights to the United Kingdom per day. Both fly into to London’s Heathrow Airport. A handful of Boeing 777 flights complements these services. However, come Wednesday, the airline will operate four A380 flights, including some to destinations other than London. The carrier’s UK schedule on Wednesday includes the following operations:
- EK007 – Dubai 03:10 – London Heathrow 07:10 – Airbus A380
- EK017 – Dubai 07:10 – Manchester 11:15 – Airbus A380
- EK027 – Dubai 07:20 – Glasgow 11:30 – Boeing 777
- EK001 – Dubai 07:45 – London Heathrow 11:40 – Airbus A380
- EK003 – Dubai 14:30 – London Heathrow 18:20 – Airbus A380
The flights come a day before the United Kingdom enters its second COVID-19 related lockdown. Emirates may have seen an uptick in demand for travel before the lockdown comes into force. As part of the lockdown, English residents are being asked not to travel abroad, unless for work-related reasons.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Simple Flying has contacted Emirates for comment. Should a response be received, this article will be updated accordingly.
Before the current situation, the United Kingdom was a key market for Emirates, accounting for 25% of its worldwide capacity. You only need to look at the airline’s pre-crisis London schedule to see why. 1-2 daily Boeing 777 flights were being operated to London Stansted Airport, while Gatwick and Heathrow both had multiple daily Airbus A380 services.
Will the Airbus A380 come back for good?
The good news is that, while many airlines may be reassessing the Airbus A380’s future in their fleets, it is bound to continue operations at Emirates for the coming years. Firstly, the UAE carrier’s fleet is half made up of the A380. Scrapping the type overnight would hurt the airline’s capacity.
Secondly, with such a large order, many Emirates A380s are still relatively young, and some are yet to be. Scrapping brand new aircraft would be frowned upon. Emirates did retire its first A380 recently, but only after around 12 years of service. The UAE carrier is currently one of only a handful of airlines flying the type, joined by China Southern and Korean Air. Meanwhile, Qantas won’t fly the type in the coming years, while Lufthansa may not fly it at all.
Are you excited to see so many A380s coming to the United Kingdom on Wednesday? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!