Why Lufthansa Is Flying Boeing 747s From Dubai To Delhi

Eagle-eyed RadarBox.com users may have spotted a Lufthansa Boeing 747 departing from Dubai earlier today. This alone is a rare event. However, rather than flying to Germany, the aircraft flew east to Delhi. It seems that the new route has been necessitated by the deadly second COVID-19 wave sadly spreading like wildfire in India.

Lufthansa, Airport Slots, €9 Flights
Lufthansa is currently operating Boeing 747 flights from Dubai to Delhi. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

COVID-19 has prompted some bizarre routes, and Lufthansa is no exception to this. Early on in the crisis, Lufthansa set up a temporary base in Thailand as it worked to repatriate citizens stranded in New Zealand. More recently, the unusual flights have taken the form of Airbus A380s being sent to Spain for storage.

Dubai to Delhi

Dubai to Delhi would typically be a bustling route. After all, India is the UAE’s largest market by seat capacity. These flights are usually operated by Indian and UAE airlines. Today a Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 was spotted on the route.

According to frankfurtflyer.de, Dubai has become a temporary hub for the German flag carrier. The publication states that flights to Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai will operate via a stopover in Dubai. This means that rather than the traditional stopover in India, the aircraft will be able to exchange their load and go.

Lufthansa, Dubai, Boeing 747
The flight has been retimed to allow for the stop in Dubai. Photo: RadarBox.com

Lufthansa isn’t the first German aircraft operator to minimize the risk of collecting COVID-19 in India. At the weekend, the German government’s A350 flew five tonnes of aid out to Delhi. The armed forces chose the A350 as it was capable of departing Delhi without being refueled. This meant that the majority of aircraft staff didn’t even leave the plane during its short stop.

The Frankfurt-Dubai-Delhi schedule

According to flight data from Google Flights, Lufthansa will use the following schedule for Delhi flights,

  • LH760 – Frankfurt (FRA) 09:55 – Dubai (DXB) 18:10 – Boeing 747 – 06h15m
  • LH760 – Dubai (DXB) 18:55 – Delhi (DEL) 00:55 +1 – Boeing 747 – 04h30m
  • LH761 – Delhi (DEL) 02:50 – Dubai (DXB) 05:10 – Boeing 747 – 03h50m
  • LH761 – Dubai (DXB) 06:20 – Frankfurt (FRA) 10:55 – Boeing 747 – 06h35m

Prior the the schedule change the jet would depart Frankfurt at 13:40, and arrive back at 07:40.

During the 45 minutes that the aircraft is on the ground in Dubai before flying to Delhi, it will possibly be refueled to allow it tanker for the flight back. This will mean the aircraft wouldn’t need to be refueled in Delhi. In turn, the complexity of the Delhi stop would be reduced, meaning that less could go wrong. A new crew would also board the aircraft to get the jet to Delhi and back.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8, Destinations
Lufthansa is one of the few remaining Boeing passenger 747 operators. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

According to flight schedule information, the Dubai detour is currently planned to last until the end of the month. Unrelated, this is also when Dubai-based Emirates is set to stop flying the Airbus A380 to Frankfurt. Of course, depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis in India, it is possible that the end date of the Dubai mini-hub could be moved forwards or back as needed.

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As pointed out by frankfurtflyer.de, it is not possible to book onto the flight if you solely want to fly to or from Dubai. This is likely to keep time on the ground in Dubai down to a minimum and avoid the mixing of passengers traveling. Arrivals from Dubai currently have to quarantine for a minimum of five days unless vaccinated.

Meanwhile, India is classified as a virus variant area. According to the current rules in Hessen, Frankfurt’s federal state, anybody who has traveled from a variant area must quarantine for 14 days, even if vaccinated.

What do you make of Lufthansa’s mini-Dubai-hub? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!