Snapshot: A Day In The Life Of Emirates’ A380 And 777 Operations

Emirates is the world’s 13th-largest international airline on October 1st, 2021, if measured in total flights. And it is the second-largest carrier within Asia-Pacific, after Qatar Airways. We explore Emirates’ operations on this specific day.

Emirates A380.
The A380 has nearly one in five of Emirates’ flights on October 1st. Photo: Emirates.

Emirates has 288 movements (departures and arrivals combined) to 104 destinations from its Dubai hub on October 1st, 2021. These 288 movements generate most 114,000 seats for an average of about 396 seats per flight, based on analyzing schedules information from Cirium.

The very high number of seats per flight is, of course, from only operating widebodies. This is in distinct contrast to Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Turkish Airlines. On this day, the B777-300ER has 78.7% of Emirates’ flights, followed by the A380 (17.1%) and B777-200LR (4.2%). Emirates increasingly uses flydubai for narrowbody capacity, with the smaller sibling, which uses B737-800s and MAXs, recently launching Ljubljana and resuming various routes.

Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-EQN (3)
Eight of Emirates’ routes have three or more flights on this day: Heathrow; Bahrain; Cairo; Dhaka; Delhi; Istanbul; JFK; and Male. Photo: Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

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Where in the world?

On this October day, Europe and Asia-Pacific have virtually the same number of movements and 31% and 30% of the total respectively. Europe is very much about Western Europe, with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) having fewer than one in ten flights with four routes: Budapest; Moscow Domodedovo; Prague; and Warsaw. flydubai plays a growing role in CEE.

ContinentFlights from Dubai (arrivals and departures)Seats from Dubai
Middle East3813,472
North America2811,012
South America2708

Emirates to the Americas

With one in ten flights, the Americas is, as you’d expect, only a small part of Emirates’ network. Here, North America includes the US, Canada, and Mexico. Some 12 North American airports are served on this day: 10 in the US; Toronto in Canada; and Mexico City.

All North American destinations have one outbound flight except New York JFK with three. There are three one-stops: one of JFK’s three flights is via Milan, Newark is via Athens, and Mexico City over Barcelona. All have fifth freedom traffic rights, or performance would be much worse.

Emirates to Sao Paulo
When writing, EK261 is cruising at 32,000 feet en route from Dubai to Sao Paulo, with nearly 11 hours remaining. Its cruise altitude is ‘just’ 32,000 feet because it is heavy. It’ll climb to more efficient altitudes as it burns fuel. Today’s round-trip is operated by AG-EGA, an 11.5-year-old B777-300ER delivered in 2010. Image:

The wave machine

In hub terms, a wave comprises one bank of arrivals and one bank of departures. Hubs are crucial as they drive connectivity, passengers, competitiveness, market share, and everything else. Emirates has four waves, as shown below, although two are obviously much more dominant. These are the original two waves: roughly 04:00 to 10:00 with 105 take-offs and landings, and 22:00 to 03:00 with 81.

Snapshot: A Day In The Life Of Emirates’ A380 And 777 Operations
This is how the airline’s movements are timed at its Dubai hub on October 1tst, 2021. Image: OAG.

As Emirates has grown, its waves have inevitably become more omnidirectional and more complicated. No longer do flights arrive from Europe and then go to Asia-Pacific. This further helps to increase frequency per route, connectivity, convenience, and competitiveness.

Although a simplification, Emirates’ largest wave, from about 04:00 to 10:00, is significant from across Asia-Pacific and Africa. These arrivals mainly feed departures to Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America.

What is your most recent flight to/from Dubai? Share your experiences by commenting.