Think of the A380 and you’ll probably think of Emirates. The airline has operated the type to 73 airports since 2011, and on a peak day in 2019 it had 90 A380 departures from Dubai.
Emirates is the king of the A380. From 2011 to 2021, it had just under half of the world’s A380 capacity, with 193 million of the 398 million seats by all airlines. In contrast, Singapore Airlines – the second-largest user of A380s – had just 43 million, nearly four-and-a-half times fewer than Emirates, analyzing OAG data reveals.
A core part of Emirates’ fleet
The A380 has been an increasingly important part of Emirates’ fleet. In 2011, when the full-service airline had eight types and models of passenger aircraft in service, the A380 had 13% of its total capacity. Come 2019, that had risen to 41%, helped by Emirates’ fleet simplifying around the B777-300ER, B777-200LR, and A380.
73 routes since 2011
Since 2011, Emirates has used the A380 to some 73 airports and 44 countries around the world. The vast majority were normal scheduled services, including to Muscat, some 217 miles away. It had up to two A380 flights a day. It also used the type to Doha, 235 miles away, ending with the Qatar blockade in 2017.
If 2011-2021 is combined, Emirates’ top-10 A380 routes are as follows, with only two – Heathrow and Bangkok – having over 10 million seats each. Between all 10, they had over 90 million seats or 47% of Emirates’ total A380 capacity, showing how important they have been.
- Heathrow: 18.5 million two-way seats
- Bangkok: 10.7 million
- New York JFK: 9.3 million
- Paris CDG: 8.9 million
- Hong Kong: 8.6 million
- Auckland: 7.4 million
- Jeddah: 7.1 million
- Sydney: 7 million
- Manchester: 6.9 million
- Gatwick: 5.8 million
Simple Flying recently showed that Emirates will use its A380s on 18 routes this summer, with Heathrow number-one. But this has now risen to 20, a far cry from the 57 served in 2019, but at least it is heading in the right direction. Amman will be resuming.
UK, USA, Australia
Emirates has used the A380 on a scheduled basis to five UK airports. With three in the top-10, joined by Birmingham (coming in at 28th) and Glasgow (58th), it’s no surprise that the UK is by far the top A380 country with over 33 million seats. Next is the US (17.6 million) and Australia (16.1 million).
A day in the life of Emirates’ A380s
On July 27th, 2019, Emirates had 90 A380 departures scheduled from Dubai, as shown below. Seven airports had three+ daily flights, including JFK (two non-stop and one via Milan). But Heathrow led with six at 02:30, 07:45, 09:40, 11:25, 14:15, and 15:45.
|Emirates from Dubai to…||Departure time|
|New York JFK||0250|
|Bangkok (continuing to Hong Kong)||0250|
|New York JFK||0830|
|Milan Malpensa (continuing to JFK)||0945|
|Sydney (continuing to Christchurch)||1015|
The UK had 15 departures in all, including the above six plus three each to Gatwick and Manchester, two to Birmingham, and one to Glasgow. Indeed, Europe had 41 departures involving 21 airports.