Emirates adds superjumbo flights to London and New Zealand ahead of holiday rush

The Dubai airline is expecting its seasonal outbound travel peak from December 16

Emirates operates A380s to 41 cities in 27 countries, with Malaysia joining New Zealand as the latest addition to the network. Photo: Emirates
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Ahead of the festive travel rush, Emirates is ramping up flights operated via its superjumbo A380s.

The airline from Dubai has introduced a third daily A380 flight to London Gatwick Airport, and is also flying the world's largest passenger plane to Auckland for the first time in nearly three years.

To the UK, Emirates will operate three double-decker flights per day between Gatwick and Dubai. That equates to more than 1,000 available daily seats between the destinations during the festive travel period, which the airline is expecting to peak from December 16 onwards.

Flights depart Dubai for London Gatwick at 2.50am, 7.40am and 2.25pm as part of plans to scale up UK operations “to meet sustained demand ahead of the holiday rush”, said Emirates.

Emirates is now operating three A380 flights per day from Dubai to Gatwick as part of plans to ramp up UK operations to meet seasonal demand. Photo: PA / Gareth Fuller

The new double-decker services to Gatwick are in addition to six daily flights to London Heathrow. Emirates also flies to four other destinations across the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow via 119 weekly flights.

In the opposite direction, Emirates' return to Auckland marks the resumption of one of the airline’s longest routes.

Emirates flight EK448 touched down at Auckland Airport on Friday, the first time the world's largest passenger jet has flown into the city since February 2020. It coincides with demand in and out of New Zealand soaring as the country welcomes its first fully open summer since Covid-19 regulations were lifted.

An Emirates Airbus A380 touching down in Auckland. Photo: Emirates / AFP

The New Zealand route is the longest on Emirates' network, covering 14,200 kilometres with a flight time of about 16 hours. The return flight to Dubai has a flying time of 17 hours and 15 minutes, making the service one of the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flights.

Emirates A380 jets are beloved by travellers who appreciate the spacious cabins, on-board lounges and shower spas. The flight to Auckland will offer four classes of travel, with passengers able to book premium economy seats on the route for the first time.

The airline operates the superjumbo to 41 cities in 27 countries, with Malaysia joining New Zealand as the latest addition to the network. More destinations are expected to be added early next year.

The world’s largest passenger plane was largely grounded during the global pandemic as travel demand plummeted and many airlines grounded the superjumbos because there were not enough passengers to fill the planes. Airlines are gradually reinstating the double-decker jets as travel demand increases.

Figures released last week from the World Travel & Tourism Council found that the public's appetite for travel is now at its highest since the global pandemic, with more than 63 per cent of people planning to take at least one trip in the next 12 months.

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Updated: December 05, 2022, 11:10 AM