Emirates is expected to offer A380 flights to Australia and New Zealand from February 2009.
The carrier’s launch of the A380 on the Dubai-New York route from October 1 (see online news January 17), and the London-Dubai route from December 1 (see online news February 1), will be quickly followed by the inauguration of A380 services between Dubai, Sydney and Auckland.
Emirates will be the first airline to operate the A380 between the Gulf and Australasia. It will also be the first carrier to offer A380 services into New Zealand. Business Traveller understands that the Dubai national airline has rostered the A380 for daily non-stop flights EK412 and EK413, which are its most prestigious services “down under”.
These flights are currently operated by long-range A340-500s. Next year’s schedules aren’t yet published but current timings call for EK412 to depart Dubai at 1000, with an arrival in Sydney the following morning at 0655. Return flight EK413 leaves Sydney at 2145, reaching Dubai at 0530 the next day. When the A380 takes over, the routing of flights EK412/413 will be changed so they continue from Sydney to terminate in Auckland.
Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the departure and arrival times in Dubai link perfectly with connections to and from London (both Heathrow and Gatwick) plus various points in mainland Europe. Overall, flight timings between London and Sydney are competitive with the one-stop schedules offered by rivals like British Airways, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic and SIA.
It’s understood that the displaced A340-500s will be redeployed on a third daily Dubai-Melbourne service. This new flight will operate non-stop. Timings call for EK408 to depart Dubai at 0230, arriving in Melbourne the same day at 2255. Return flight EK409 leaves at 0255, and arrives in Dubai at 1010.
The new schedules are likely to be confirmed in a few weeks time.
For more information visit emirates.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter