Emirates has decided to use the world’s largest passenger aircraft – the Airbus A380 – for a flight which covers just 340km and normally takes little more than 40 minutes. The new twice-daily regularly scheduled A380 service between Dubai International Airport and Muscat is set to begin on 1st July.
The date of the new service marks exactly a year since Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service between the close neighbours.
Unsurprisingly, the new service will become Emirates’ shortest A380 service – in fact, it even beats a previous A380 service between Dubai and Doha which covered 382km and used to take just shy of an hour. Emirates was forced to permanently suspend that route after a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar was introduced in June 2017.
But what we do know from that experience is that customers are unlikely to get to enjoy much of the A380 experience on this shortest of short hops. With less than 20 minutes of actual cruising time, don’t expect much time to sup drinks at the iconic on-board bar and First Class passengers won’t get to enjoy an in-flight shower either.
As you can probably imagine, the meal service across all cabins also has to be abbreviated if cabin crew are to have any chance of serving everyone.
Emirates actually says that deploying the double-deck A380 on this route proves it has an “agile approach to fleet deployment” – Using an A380 on this short flight would actually seem like the least agile use on an A380. After all, the aircraft was designed to connect hub cities and not operate point-to-point short-haul services.
The route is currently served by a Boeing 777-300 so upgauging it to an A380 would either suggest they have fantastic passenger load factors on the 429 capacity aircraft or they don’t know what else to do with their A380’s. After all, the doubledecker has such great passenger-pleasing amenities – why use it on a route where passengers can’t benefit the most?
The A380 will operate the following flights to and from Muscat:
- EK 862/863 and
The EK866/865 will continue to be operated by a Boeing 777-300.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.