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Emirates to Send its Airbus A380’s to London Heathrow Four Times a Day as Bookings Surge

Emirates to Send its Airbus A380’s to London Heathrow Four Times a Day as Bookings Surge

Emirates is to serve London Heathrow Airport (LHR) four times per day with its flagship Airbus A380 superjumbo on the back of a surge in new passenger bookings as Brits search for quarantine-free winter sun. The Dubai-based airline will also increase A380 service to six times per week to and from Manchester, while Moscow will get a daily A380 service – up from the current twice-weekly service.

The airline said it had witnessed an increase in demand following the UK’s decision to ease quarantine restrictions on travellers arriving from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The establishment of a so-called travel corridor allows passengers to enter the United Kingdom from Dubai without needing to self-isolate for 14-days.

Photo by ZQ Lee on Unsplash

Sun-hungry Brits will, however, have to wait until at least December 2 to take a vacation in Dubai because of a national COVID-19 lockdown in England which bans all leisure travel. Some passengers have, though, been able to circumvent the rules by convincing the authorities they are really travelling for business.

Emirates recently reopened its iconic onboard bar and lounge, as well as the First Class shower spa on its A380’s but many of the double-deck aircraft remain grounded because of a lack of demand. In the last few weeks, many A380 pilots were asked to take as long as 12-months off on unpaid leave, while hundreds more have reportedly been laid off in the last seven months.

Last week, the airline said it would start using some of its A380’s as ‘mini-freighters’ in cargo-only operations. In the future, Emirates said it would start loading cargo on passenger seats and the airline could rip out seating altogether to make more room for cargo, especially as the race to transport COVID-19 vaccines ramps up in the coming months.

Emirates will boost A380 service on its Heathrow route from November 27, while Manchester will get the additional capacity from December 2. Services to Birmingham and Glasgow will also be increased from November 27 and December 1 respecitvely.

Analysts expect fares to surge by as much as 20 per cent. Along with passengers seeking sun in Dubai, destinations such as Seychelles and the Maldives are also in easier reach because of the decision to axe quarantine restrictions.

Passengers travelling to Dubai must obtain a negative PCR test certificate within 96 hours of travel. For passengers travelling from the UK or Germany, the test can also be taken on arrival in Dubai.

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