As exclusively predicted by Business Traveller (see Online News, February 6) Emirates has confirmed it will roster its A380 superjumbos to operate daily flights EK412 and EK413 linking Dubai with both Sydney and Auckland.
The services get under way on February 1 and Emirates has now published the timings on its website.
Flight EK412 leaves Dubai at 1000 to arrive in Sydney the next day at 0655. The A380 flight then continues across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. Flight time to Auckland is three hours with a departure from Sydney at 0830 and an arrival in New Zealand at 1330 (allowing for the time difference between Australia and New Zealand).
Emirates is allowed to carry local trans-Tasman passengers between Sydney and Auckland, and vice versa. This sector is expected to prove popular with Antipodeans wishing to sample Airbus’ superjumbo on what are relatively short and inexpensive flights.
Return flight EK413 will leave Auckland at 1845, reaching Sydney at 2005. It then continues to Dubai leaving Sydney at 2145 to land in Dubai the next morning at 0530.
Passengers from London bound for these Australasian cities can make perfect connections in Dubai by taking flight EK6 ex-Heathrow (departing 2200 and arriving 0845 the next day) and returning Dubai-Heathrow with EK1 (departing 0745 and arriving 1135). EK6 is currently scheduled to be operated by a B777-300 but EK1 is rostered for the A380.
Exact details for the A380’s cabins remain a secret. But seat plans now show that Emirates will be locating its first class suites and business class on the upper deck, while economy class will be downstairs. It means that because the A380's upper deck will be reserved for premium passengers they are unlikely to mix with economy passengers during boarding and disembarkation.
Seating layout for the suites is four across (1-2-1), six across (2-2-2) for business and 10-across (3-4-3) in economy class. Emirates’ A380s on this route will carry a maximum of 489 passengers: 14 suites, 76 business and 399 in economy layout.
In other news, Emirates is introducing a new “P” tariff code for its first class suites. These are fitted to selected planes including the A340-500, B777LR, B777-300ER and, of course, the A380.
It means that passengers can immediately ascertain whether their plane will have the new and spacious accommodation rather than conventional first class seating.
On the other hand, cynics suggest that having a new tariff code could enable Emirates in the future to surcharge its suites as SIA is doing (for its first class suites) on A380 flights. (Like Emirates, SIA also has a different fare designator for its suites.) The new P tariff code covers flights taken on or after March 30.
For more information go to emirates.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter