Emirates, the operator of the world’s longest non-stop flight between Dubai and Auckland, will be rostering an A380 for the service with effect from December.
The news was revealed by Emirates president Tim Clark at last week’s IATA AGM in Dublin.
Although the exact starting date is not confirmed, the A380 represents almost a doubling of (capacity) for the non-stop service.
Emirates’ A380 accommodates 489 passengers in a three-class configuration whereas its smaller B777-200LR (long range) which currently plies the route, has just 266 seats spread over its three classes.
Of these 489 passengers, 399 will be in economy, 76 in business and 14 in first class.
Flight times with the A380 are expected to be 16 hours five minutes between Dubai and Auckland. Auckland-Dubai is expected to take 17 hours, 20 mins. The route length is 14,200 kms.
Flight number for the existing B777-200LR non-stop flight is EK448 which departs Dubai at 1005 to arrive into Auckland at 1110 the following morning.
Return flight EK449 departs Auckland at 2115 to arrive back into Dubai at 0535 the next morning. Note that the A380’s flight times have not yet been finalised.
Emirates launched non-stop flights on this route on March 1. The inaugural flight was operated by an A380 on a “one-off” basis.
Passengers will welcome the A380 because it provides superior comfort in all classes compared to the B777-200LR. In particular, economy class passengers will find their accommodation to be roomier.
Qatar Airways was expected to snatch the longest flight title from Emirates on December 1. That is when the Qatar national airline had declared it would fly Doha-Auckland non-stop. (Doha-Auckland is slightly farther than Dubai-Auckland).
But owing to a shortage of aircraft, Qatar Airways has now postponed the start date of its New Zealand service until the early part of 2017.
Emirates’ existing A380 flights on this route will continue to operate one-stop via Australia. But these one-stop flights add several hours to the non-stop timings.
And please note that Emirates has (at the time of writing) yet to announce exactly when in December the A380 will be taking over the non-stop service.
Only one airline, Air New Zealand, flies directly between Europe and Auckland and that involves a departure from London Heathrow. All other routings involve a plane change, either in Asia or the Gulf. ANZ’s direct flight is routed by Los Angeles and this means that all passengers (even if in transit) must obtain a US visa.