The Superjumbo Decade: Emirates’ Top A380 Routes Revealed

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 A380
Emirates has used its A380s to 73 airports in the past decade. Photo: Getty Images.

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.

Emirates A380
If the past decade is combined, Amsterdam was Emirates’ 13th-largest A380 route. Photo: Getty Images.

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.

Emirates fleet
The simplification of Emirates’ fleet is very plain to see. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer.

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.

Alongside scheduled services were a good handful of one-off flights or those operated for a minimal time only. Emirates used the A380 to Chicago in 2016, while Beirut received it in 2018.

Emirates A380
Some 14 airports have seen Emirates’ A380 on a one-off or very limited-time basis since 2011. Image: GCMap.

Top-10 routes

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.

  1. Heathrow: 18.5 million two-way seats
  2. Bangkok: 10.7 million
  3. New York JFK: 9.3 million
  4. Paris CDG: 8.9 million
  5. Hong Kong: 8.6 million
  6. Auckland: 7.4 million
  7. Jeddah: 7.1 million
  8. Sydney: 7 million
  9. Manchester: 6.9 million
  10. 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.

The Superjumbo Decade: Emirates’ Top A380 Routes Revealed
Emirates’ top-10 A380 destinations between 2011 and 2021. Image: GCMap.

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).

Emirates A380
On July 27th, 2019, Emirates had two departures to Munich at 08:50 and 16:30. Photo: Getty Images.

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  
Jeddah0145
Sydney0215
Washington0220
Heathrow0230
Mauritius0235
Tokyo Narita 0240
Melbourne 0240
Perth0245
Gatwick0245
Shanghai Pudong 0250
New York JFK0250
Bangkok (continuing to Hong Kong)0250
Osaka0300
Manchester0300
Singapore0305
Kuala Lumpur0310
Hong Kong0315
Toronto0330
Taipei 0340
Seoul0340
Bangkok0340
Beijing 0355
Paris CDG0405
Johannesburg 0405
Jeddah0655
Manchester0725
Casablanca0725
Birmingham0735
Madrid0740
Heathrow0745
Glasgow0750
Gatwick0800
Amsterdam0805
Boston0815
Barcelona 0815
Paris CDG0820
Copenhagen0820
Muscat0825
Frankfurt0825
New York JFK0830
Düsseldorf 0830
Prague 0835
Zurich 0840
Nice0845
Munich0850
Vienna0855
Los Angeles0855
Sao Paulo0905
San Francisco0910
Rome0910
Singapore0920
Shanghai Pudong 0935
Houston 0935
Heathrow0940
Bangkok0940
Milan Malpensa (continuing to JFK)0945
Melbourne 1005
Mauritius1005
Johannesburg 1005
Hong Kong1005
Auckland1005
Sydney (continuing to Christchurch)1015
Guangzhou1020
Kuala Lumpur1025
Brisbane1035
Beijing1050
Heathrow1125
Amman1400
Heathrow1415
Düsseldorf 1420
Madrid1430
Manchester1435
Paris CDG1440
Frankfurt1440
Amsterdam1445
Gatwick1455
Birmingham1455
Hamburg1510
Zurich 1535
Milan Malpensa1545
Heathrow1545
Barcelona 1545
Jeddah1600
Muscat1610
Athens1620
Munich1630
Riyadh1850
Kuala Lumpur2115
Mumbai2155
Bangkok2230

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.

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