Emirates is to deploy its 517-seater Airbus A380 superjumbo on flights between Dubai and Tokyo Narita to serve the “pent-up demand” for travel to Japan after the country finally lifted pandemic-era travel restrictions for individual travellers after nearly three years.
The doubledeck A380 will offer approximately 43 per cent more capacity than the Boeing 777-300 which Emirates has been using to serve Tokyo throughout the pandemic. The airline will, however, continue to deploy the 360-seater 777 on its Osaka route.
Japan welcomed back foreign tourists for the first time since the start of the pandemic on Tuesday and airlines have reported a surge in demand from travellers keen to visit the country after a two-and-a-half-year closure.
Vaccinated travellers no longer need a pre-departure test and won’t need to quarantine on arrival, while unvaccinated travellers also don’t need to quarantine but are required to show proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test.
The Japanese government is hopeful that the visa-free entry rules for foreigners from 60 countries will see tourists return to the country in their droves and early signs are that this is exactly what is happening.
The Japanese airline ANA says bookings have increased five-fold since the announcement that border restrictions were being lifted and the airline is cautiously optimistic that flights between Japan and the United States could return to pre-pandemic levels as early as this winter.
Unlike many countries battered by pandemic travel rules, Japanese airlines laid off far fewer staff and are in a better position to respond to the surge in demand.
After grounding its entire fleet of Airbus A380s at the height of the pandemic, Emirates has since resumed A380 service to 30 destinations and the airline said on Wednesday that it expects to announce even more destinations that will get A380 service in the near future.
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.