10 Years In: A Look At Emirates’ Dublin Service

Ten years have passed since Emirates began flying to Dublin. Originally using the A330-200, it was very quickly upgauged to the B777-300ER. A second daily service came after less than three years, and it’ll revert to twice-daily on July 1st, 2022. As you might imagine, over seven in ten passengers transited via Dubai in 2019, although the local market is still sizeable.

emirates 777-300ER
This coming summer, Emirates will serve 38 destinations across Europe. Dublin will be its 20th-largest by seats for sale. The Irish city will also be its second-longest European route after Lisbon.Photo: Getty Images

Dublin to Dubai: a summary

Emirates began Dublin on January 9th, 2012. The first service was scheduled to leave Dubai at 07:00, arrive in Ireland at 11:30, leave at 12:55, and arrive back at 00:25 the following day. As always, it was designed for connectivity over the carrier’s mega-hub.

On June 1st, 2012 – a few months after beginning – the route changed from the 237-seat A330-200 to the 354-seat B777-300ER. That provided 49% more seats for sale per departure, a significant volume in such a short space of time. The Irish capital was reported as one of Emirates’ most successful launches ever, although it coincided with big growth by Etihad too.

Less than three years after beginning, Emirates doubled Dublin to twice-daily on September 1st, 2014, according to schedules information available via Cirium. An overnight flight to the UAE was added, again using the B777-300ER.

Not coincidentally, Etihad and Turkish Airlines meaningfully grew Dublin capacity from 2014 onwards, while Qatar Airways added Doha-Dublin in 2017. Come 2019, Dublin to the Middle East and Turkey had over 1.2 million seats, a huge volume.

Dublin to Dubai_ how has the market developed
Aer Lingus operated Dublin-Dubai between 2006 and 2008. Source of data: Cirium.

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Emirates’ twice-daily service returns in July

In the current week, Emirates has a once-daily service with virtually the same timings as a decade ago. Come July 1st, it is expected to return to double-daily, with the following schedule (all times are local).

  • EK161: Dubai-Dublin, 07:15-12:10; B777-300ER
  • EK162: Dublin-Dubai, 14:15-00:45+1 the following day
  • EK163: Dubai-Dublin, 15:15-20:10; B777-300ER
  • EK164: Dublin-Dubai: 22:05-08:30 the following day
EK161 to Dublin
When writing, EK161 has about two hours left to run before it lands in Dublin. It is operated by A6-ENQ, a 7.7-year-old B777-300ER that flew from Karachi to Dubai before leaving for Ireland. Image: RadarBox.com.

Where do Dublin passengers actually go?

In 2019, the last normal year, booking data suggests that Emirates’ Dublin service achieved a seat load factor of about 85%. Approximately 110,000 round-trip passengers were point-to-point (i.e., those traveling between Dublin and Dubai only) while over 315,000 – more than seven in ten – transited Dubai.

As you’d expect, Dublin-Australia was Emirates’ largest transit country, followed by India, South Africa, Thailand, New Zealand, Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. At airport level, Dublin to Sydney led, as shown below. Surprisingly, Etihad – and not Emirates – was the market leader between Dublin and Sydney. The top destinations were:

  1. Dublin to Sydney
  2. Perth
  3. Brisbane
  4. Melbourne
  5. Kochi
  6. Bangkok
  7. Johannesburg
  8. Singapore
  9. Manila
  10. Auckland

The author has flown Emirates from Birmingham and Heathrow to Dubai. On what European routes have you flown the carrier? Share your experiences in the comments.