Emirates stated (26-Dec-2013) it will become the first airline to operate a regularly scheduled A380 service to London Gatwick Airport. From 30-Mar-2014, the airline’s 489-seat A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on EK flight 09/10, bringing a 36% increase in capacity on one of its three daily services, Emirates executive VP and CCO Thierry Antinori said, “London Gatwick was our first destination in the UK when we launched our services to the airport in 1987. 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 continued, “Our long term strategic partnership with London Gatwick enables us to bring our flagship A380 on a regularly scheduled basis and build on our robust presence at the airport. 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". Emirates’ current A380 destinations are: 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 Jan-2014 and Feb-2014 respectively. [more - original PR]
Emirates to become the first airline to operate a regularly scheduled A380 service to London Gatwick
You may also be interested in the following articles...
Virgin Australia realigns its airline partnership priorities on new long haul strategy: Part 1
There have recently been important shifts in Virgin Australia's partnership relations, as Air New Zealand withdraws its ownership and the roles of Singapore Airlines and Etihad evolve with HNA becoming a substantial shareholder. As a consequence, Virgin is restructuring its long haul network for the first time in over two years. Individual changes are not significant, but they help tie up loose ends in Virgin's strategy. Virgin and its US JV partner Delta have been static since United and Qantas-American Airlines greatly altered the Australia-US market profile, a route which constitutes most of Virgin's long haul network.
Virgin struggled to find a use for what was essentially leftover aircraft capacity that it allocated to Sydney-Abu Dhabi as part of a JV with Etihad. With a limited fleet, North America beckoning, and Etihad seemingly losing some lustre since a Virgin-Singapore Airlines partnership, Virgin is having to cut Sydney-Abu Dhabi to free up capacity to relaunch Melbourne-Los Angeles.
Virgin will still commit to its Etihad partnership by adding three weekly Perth-Abu Dhabi flights on the A330-200, which will finally be moved out of the domestic market and deployed long haul. Since the end of the West Australian mining boom, these well equipped aircraft are no longer needed on transcontinental domestic service. Virgin's fleet of five 777-300ERs now will exclusively be used on Los Angeles.
Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.