Dubai flag carrier Emirates said it will resume its A380 service to Houston, Texas, from June 1 on rising demand, after the service was downgraded from the flagship double-decker in 2016.
"With the energy sector recovering and playing a large role in Houston's resurgence, Emirates took the decision to reinstate the A380 services from June 1, 2018 in line with commercial demand," the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.
Emirates is the world’s largest operator of A380s, and last month finalised an order with the European plane manufacturer Airbus for a further 20 of the double-decker planes, with an option for 16 additional aircraft.
The Dubai-Houston A380 route was downgraded to a Boeing 777-300ER service in July 2016 due to a drop in passenger demand, compounded last year by heightened US security measures including a ban on laptops in aircraft cabins and attempts to ban travellers from Muslim-majority nations.
Emirates said on Wednesday the A380 will be used again on the Dubai-Houston route from June 1, “based on increasing passenger demand, especially from the oil and gas sector”, a spokeswoman for the airlines said.
Oil prices crossed $60 per barrel in October for the first time since 2014, with prices touching the $70 mark last month, boosting many parts of the global economy.
Emirates said it will deploy its three-class A380 on the Houston route, offering 516 seats, including 14 private suites in first class, 76 flatbed seats in business class seats and 426 seats in economy, increasing capacity by more than 160 passengers per flight compared to the current B777 service.
Flight EK211 will depart Dubai at 9.35am and arrive in Houston at 4.50pm daily. Return flight EK212 will depart Houston at 8pm and arrive in Dubai at 8pm the next day.
The move to reinstate the A380 to Houston follows other recent adjustments to Emirates’ US services, including the launch of a new non-stop Dubai-Newark service from June 1 and the resumption of daily services to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from March 25.