Emirates has stopped flying it’s Airbus A380 superjumbo between Dubai and Amsterdam just two weeks after resuming service on the 489-seater double-deck aircraft. Instead, Emirates will continue serving Amsterdam on its smaller Boeing 777-300 aircraft which has a much lower passenger capacity of around 360.
Local media have speculated that the apparent aircraft downgrade was prompted by increasingly low demand on the route. A spokesperson for the Dubai-based airline refused to answer that question directly and instead said the aircraft change was for “commercial reasons”.
Emirates has resumed A380 service on a tiny number of routes after a four-month hiatus caused by COVID-19 lockdowns. The airline relaunched the iconic A380 on its flagship routes between Dubai and London Heathrow, and Paris on July 15. Amsterdam and Cairo followed around two weeks later and on August 8, Guangzhou was upgraded to A380 service.
But the last A380 service to Amsterdam came unannounced on Saturday – just a day before Emirates upgraded its Toronto service to an A380. As the largest A380 operator in the world, it’s unlikely the reason was that it didn’t have enough spare aircraft.
The airline has declined to provide any insight on passenger demand, forward booking data or load factors on any of its routes. Regional competitor, Qatar Airways, however, has blasted Emirates over its decision to redeploy the A380, saying it wasn’t “commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market”.
Like other A380 operators, Qatar Airways has kept its A380’s grounded because weakened demand means it’s difficult to fill the capacity of the double-deck aircraft.
By September, Emirates will have rebuilt its network to around 75 destinations, including 25 in Europe alone. Dubai remains open to tourists but would-be travellers must obtain a negative COVID-19 test at their own expense before they even try to get on a plane to the country.
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.