When you think Airbus A380, you think of transporting hundreds of passengers across long distances. However, Emirates is challenging this. The Middle Eastern airline is utilizing the aircraft for the Airbus A380’s shortest flight of just 350km, in a hop between Dubai and Muscat, as of Monday.
The Airbus A380 is a wonderful aircraft. In fact, it is my favourite aircraft in terms of passenger comfort. However, it seems less than suited to a 40-minute flight. What one must remember is that Emirates doesn’t have much choice when it comes to available aircraft. Indeed, the carrier’s fleet consists solely of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777.
Emirates’ Muscat service
As previously mentioned, Emirates has launched the world’s shortest Airbus A380 flight. The flights ferry passengers between Emirates’ hub at Dubai and the capital of Oman, Muscat. You may ask why Emirates would use the giant of the skies for such a short route? While unconfirmed, it would seem that Emirates is looking to have a high capacity between the two cities.
Emirates has three different configurations of Airbus A380 according to SeatGuru. The aircraft can hold between and 489 and 615 passengers. However, the densest 615 layout is two class. This seats 58 in business, and 557 in economy. Depending on the layout, the airline can carry between 978 and 1230 passengers per day in each direction.
The A380 flights
Emirates is operating the Airbus A380 flight between Dubai and Muscat twice daily. This is in addition to an early morning flight operated by a Boeing 777. The first A380 flight departs Dubai in the morning and follows the following schedule:
- EK862 departs Dubai at 08:25 local. After around a 40-minute flight and some taxiing, it arrives in the capital of Oman at 09:40.
- EK863 then departs from Muscat at 11:15. After flying 350 km, the flight arrives in Dubai at 12:25.
Meanwhile, the second daily rotation departs Dubai in the afternoon:
- EK864 departs Dubai at 16:10, arriving in Muscat 1-hour and 15-minutes later at 17:25.
- EK865 then departs from Muscat at 19:05, before arriving in Dubai at 20:15 in the evening.
The average flight time between the cities is 40 minutes, showing that Emirates is allowing a lot of time for taxiing the aircraft either end. However, it only takes a team of 42 people 35 minutes to clean an Emirates Airbus A380.
“Comfort and convenience”
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla is the Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Centre. Speaking of the new A380 rotation he said: “We have been committed to serving the Omani market for over 26 years, and in the spirit of continuing our growth with the introduction of the A380, we are providing customers more comfort and convenience as they make their journey to Dubai and beyond.”
What do you make of the world’s shortest Airbus A380 route? Is it a good idea, or a waste of a widebody aircraft? Let us know in the comments!