Dubai-based Emirates Airline has announced that it will operate its jumbo A380 jet to London Gatwick airport from early next year.
The airline’s 489-seat A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on EK flight 09/10 from March 30, 2014, bringing a 36 per cent increase in capacity on one of its three daily flights, the carrier said in a statement.
The EK 009 flight will depart Dubai at 1500hrs and arrive at London Gatwick Airport at 1930hrs, and the return flight, EK 010, will leave London Gatwick at 2115hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0720hrs the next day.
“London Gatwick was our first destination in the UK when we launched our services to the airport in 1987,” said Thierry Antinori, EVP and chief commercial officer, Emirates Airline.
“It continues to be a strategic gateway not only into London but also into the regions of the Southeast and we are pleased to be the first airline to introduce a daily scheduled A380 service to the airport,” he said.
He added: “Our support for London Gatwick’s long-term growth plans is aligned with our global strategy to optimise capacity on our major routes and to offer our passengers with ever more opportunities to fly on our A380s. The A380s are highly popular with our customers.”
The two decks of the Emirates A380 on the new route will offer 399 seats in economy class, 76 seats in business class and 14 first class private suites. The plane also offers 1,600 entertainment, Wi-Fi access and mobile phone and data services.
“Scheduled A380 services further demonstrate Gatwick’s emergence as a world-class airport, which now supports routes to established and emerging markets across the globe, and is rapidly becoming London’s airport of choice for both business and leisure passengers,” said Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick.
“It also adds to Gatwick’s already unique mix of aircraft models and carrier types.”
Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft in the world with 44 in its fleet and 96 on order, following its announcement to add 50 more at the Dubai Airshow in November.
So far this year, Emirates has received 13 of the jumbo Airbus aircraft which have been deployed on its network of 24 A380 destinations.
Emirates’ current A380 destinations include: Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, and Brisbane.
Emirates will start operating scheduled A380 services to Zurich and Barcelona from January and February 2014 respectively.