Emirates has made plans to return to the skies this week but with greatly reduced crew onboard its aircraft. In an effort to protect as many staff as possible, the airline has decided to go with the absolute bare minimum of four flight attendants onboard its A380s and Boeing 777s.
What are the details?
Emirates has decided to take back to the skies today, flying its Boeing 777-300ER fleet on select routes to Europe. These flights will be carrying cargo and will only sell tickets to passengers outbound from Dubai.
Over time, @Emirates looks forward to the gradual resumption of passenger services in line with lifting of travel & operational restrictions, including assurance of health measures to safeguard our people & customers. Their safety & well-being will always be our top priority. 2/2
— HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum (@HHAhmedBinSaeed) April 2, 2020
These flights have a high fixed cost, of around $2,500 for economy class and $5,000 for business class, one way (it is not possible to book a return flight).
What is interesting is that these aircraft will be crewed very differently from normal operations.
How will these aircraft be crewed?
According to One Mile At A Time, Emirates has turned how it crews its aircraft on its head in order to protect as many flight attendants as possible from contracting any viruses.
Specifically, they will be:
- Flying the aircraft there and back again on the same ‘sector’. This will mean that flight attendants will be doing extra-long shifts.
- The planes will carry an extra cockpit crew (Captian and First Officer) in order to fly back on the same day. They will be sitting at the front of the plane in first class on the outbound journey.
- The returning crews and flight attendants will be tested for the virus when they land back in Dubai, and not cleared to fly again until they get a negative result.
With most of the Emirates fleet grounded, the airline has plenty of cabin and cockpit crew members that it can rotate through these routes. When a team returns, the airline can sit them out for a day or two until the test returns.
Interestingly, OMAAT is also reporting that Emirates is putting a ‘shower attendant’ onboard the aircraft to clean all the bathrooms. This will mean that flight attendants do not have to clean or replenish supplies in the bathrooms, thereby avoiding potentially hazardous circumstances.
How many crew will be onboard these aircraft?
Emirates has also used this as a chance to deploy the absolute minimum amount of flight attendants. Normally, an A380 carries 23 flight attendants and a Boeing 777-300ER 14 flight attendants.
The rule of thumb now is that there is a minimum of four flight attendants on the whole plane, with roughly another two added to the roster for every extra 100 passengers.
To put this in numbers
- Boeing 777 – Four flight attendants on each level, then six if the aircraft has over 14 passengers, over 102 six flight attendants, 234 passengers eight flight attendants are needed and the plane will have 10 flight attendants if it carries 352
- Airbus A380 – Four flight attendants as a base, then six in total if the plane has over 88 passengers, eight over 223 and ten over 348 passengers.
Whilst we won’t see many Boeing 777s carrying only four flight attendants, it is possible that the A380s only have four as the 88 passengers threshold on the lower deck is rather high in the current climate. They would be split between business and economy class.
Lastly, even with a full aircraft, these planes will only have 10 cabin crew on the 777 and 16 on the A380, a far cry from once was.
What do you think? Do you want to ride on a small crewed A380? Let us know in the comments.