Back Again: Emirates’ Airbus A380 Returns To Manchester

On September 1st, Emirates resumed using the A380 to Manchester, exactly 11 years after the double-decker was first used on a scheduled basis to the English airport. The type made a brief reappearance earlier in this year and it is now the sole aircraft plying the route, with a twice-daily service planned from October 1st.

Emirates is once more using the A380 to Manchester. Photo: Emirates.

The A380 returns to Manchester

The return of the double-decker quadjet was operated by A6-EOU. ‘Oscar Uniform was delivered fresh to Emirates on January 26th, 2016, shows, making it 6.07 years old.

Manchester’s flights on September 1st were scheduled by a 517-seat aircraft, as most of its A380 routes are this week. However, it was operated by a 519-seater instead. This has 14 seats in first, 76 in business, and 429 in economy. This has the second-highest number of seats of all carrier’s A380 configurations, behind only the two-class, 615-seat aircraft, with no first class and a much smaller business cabin.

What’s the situation?

From September 1st until September 30th, Emirates has a once-daily service between Dubai and Manchester (EK17/EK18). From October 1st, it’ll be two (EK19/EK20), again by the A380. The schedule is as follows with all times local.

  • EK17: once-daily, leaving Dubai at 07:25 and arriving in Manchester at 12:00
  • EK18: once-daily, departing Manchester at 14:05 and arriving at 00:15+1 (the next day)
  • EK19: once-daily, leaving Dubai at 14:30 and arriving in Manchester at 19:15
  • EK20: once-daily, departing Manchester at 21:15 and arriving at 07:25+1 (the next day)
Emirates Manchester to Dubai EK18
This shows the routing of EK18 on the way back to Dubai on September 1st. It pushed back from Manchester at 14:13 and arrived on stand in Dubai at 23:58, local time. Image:

Returning first on EK17/EK18 makes sense

The fact that EK17/EK18 returned first is appropriate. These were the exact flights that the A380 operated to Manchester when the type was used 11 years ago, although the timings were slightly different (arriving in Manchester at 12:25 and leaving at 15:20).

Stay awareSign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.

More significantly and more business-like, EK17 is fed by the greatest number of inbound flights in Dubai, while EK18 feeds the highest number of outbound services, driving connectivity. This is key, and more than ever during a pandemic.

Similarly, adding EK19/EK20 next also makes sense. The timings of these flights correspond to the next highest connection opportunity over Dubai. Indeed, the mid-afternoon period from Dubai sees the second greatest number of Europe-bound services, behind only the morning.

EK18 Manchester to Dubai
Seen on the stand at Manchester on September 1st is A6-EOU. Photo: Emirates.

11 years for the A380 to Manchester

Emirates started to use the A380 to the Northwest England airport on September 1st, 2010. The quadjet slowly became more dominant, with 2019 marking the first year that all Manchester flights were by the type.

This included EK21, the third-daily service, which normally left the UAE around 03:00. Only Emirates’ bigger European destinations had flights that left in this bank. Schedules information from OAG shows that this third flight to Manchester began in 2011 and was initially operated by the A330-200, hence that type’s reappearance that year. The A380 operated alongside the B777-300ER from 2016.

Emirates to Manchester
Manchester passed the one million seat mark in 2015 when 1,000,422 (!) were available. Source: OAG.

Where do Manchester passengers actually go?

In 2019, when all flights were by the A380, over 600,000 transited Dubai, booking data reveals. Bangkok was the number-one market on an airport basis, followed by Mumbai, Singapore, Mauritius, Perth, Islamabad, Brisbane, Male, Sydney, and Delhi.

Have you flown Emirates from this UK airport? Let us know in the comments.