Emirates has announced that it will launch A380-operated flights to Istanbul from October 1.

According to the airline, this will be the first time that the double-decker jumbo jet – the world’s largest commercial aircraft in service – will fly to the city for passenger operations.

The airline will operate the A380 on its daily service, departing Dubai at 1045 and arriving in Istanbul at 1425. The return service will depart Istanbul at 1625 and arrive in Dubai at 2150.

The three-class A380 will offer a total of 517 seats, with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 mini pods with lie-flat seats in Business Class, and 427 seats in economy. This will increase capacity per flight by more than 150 passengers compared to the current B777-300ER.

The aircraft also features a shower spa, a lounge on the upper deck for First and Business customers,  free wifi, large setback screens, and IFE with over 4,500 channels.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, commented:

“We are excited to finally bring our flagship to Istanbul to join many other top cities we currently serve with the A380. Since Emirates started operating to Turkey 34 years ago, we have carried six million customers on more than 23,000 flights. Bringing the A380 service to Turkey is a major milestone for Emirates and we would like to thank all our partners and stakeholders for their support in making this a reality.”

Majid Khan, Vice President Aviation Development of iGA Istanbul Airport, added:

“Since we moved to our new home at Istanbul Airport on 6 April 2019, Emirates’ A380 entry is another milestone for us. I am proud that the world’s largest A380 operator, Emirates, will operate the Dubai-Istanbul route with their flagship, making it the first ever A380 operation at Istanbul Airport and Turkey.

“This increase will help to boost traffic between our two nations. In the post-Covid-19 era, through Emirates’ extensive network, it will bring more inbound tourism to Istanbul and Turkey from currently unserved or underserved destinations. We are looking forward to further developing our good relations with Emirates and would like to welcome the Emirates A380 to Istanbul Airport.”

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of A380s, with 118 currently in its fleet.

The airline recently restarted services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and is set to resume flights to St Petersburg in Russia from October 8.