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For the upcoming Northern Hemisphere winter, Emirates has only been able to justify scheduling its Airbus A380s on 7 of its routes, and for an airline with well over a hundred such aircraft in its fleet, that’s an issue. Now, in the latest update to its Summer 2021 schedule, Emirates is looking a bit more optimistic as it prepares to increase the number of routes on which it plans to operate the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
It’s no secret that the days of the Airbus A380 are numbered (the last A380 to be built trundled out of a hangar in Toulouse a few weeks ago), but it’s also no secret that Emirates is by far the biggest operator of A380 in the world so, regardless of whether the aircraft is heading towards extinction or not, the airline has to find a way to use its A380s if it isn’t to hemorrhage even more money than it already is.
Between 25 October 2020 and 27 March 2021, Cairo, Guangzhou, Jeddah, London Heathrow, Manchester, Moscow Domodedovo, and Paris CDG are the only airports scheduled to see A380 service from Emirates. With a total of just 49 scheduled flights per week, Emirates could probably operate these routes with no more than 10 A380s so that still leaves over a hundred of the airline’s A380s sitting idle or acting as cargo freighters to various parts of the world.
Based on the latest schedules that Emirates has published, it looks as if the airline is trying to be a bit more hopeful for the Northern Hemisphere summer season (April – October) and, as things stand, the Emirates A380 is scheduled to operate on the following 19 routes:
- Amsterdam – 1x/day
- Bangkok – Hong Kong – 1x/day
- Beijing Capital – 2x/day
- Brisbane – 1x/day
- Cairo – 4x/week
- Guangzhou – 1x/day
- Jeddah – 1x/day
- London Gatwick – 1x/day
- London Heathrow – 3x/day
- Manchester – 1x/day
- Mauritius – 2x/day
- Moscow Domodedovo – 7x/week
- Mumbai – 1x/day
- New York JFK – 1x/day
- Paris CDG – 1x/day
- Shanghai Pu Dong – 2x/day
- Sydney – Christchurch – 1x/day
- Tokyo Narita – 1x/day
- Toronto 5x/week
That’s a total of 163 weekly flights which is a considerable increase on the airline’s plans for this coming winter.
Whether or not all these routes and flights come to fruition is a matter for debate (of late, a lot of airlines have been posting overly optimistic schedules), and it’s interesting to note that while Emirates is making plans to get its A380s back in the air, Etihad has just removed its A380s from all of its schedules going forward.
I’m happy to concede that it’s probably not entirely fair to compare Emirates and Etihad when it comes to A380 usage as Etihad’s A380s comprise only ~10% of its fleet while Emirates’ A380s make up almost 43% of its fleet, but it’s still important to note that Emirates’ A380 plans are definitely not indicative of what other A380 operators are doing.
Emirates has recently released an update to its Summer 2021 schedule and in it the airline has tentatively planned to operate its A380s on 19 routes across the world. There’s no doubt that we’ll see quite a few revisions to this plan between now and next April, so it will be interesting to watch how many of these routes stick (and keep the A380) and how many are pulled or see the A380s replaced with 777s.
Based on how things are progressing right now, I’ll be surprised if Emirates will be seeing enough demand to justify operating its A380s on 19 routes come next summer…but I really hope I’m wrong.
[HT: Routes Online]