Big jets are under siege. Boeing just announced the end of production for the iconic 747 Queen Of The Skies, and many airlines have retired, or mothballed their gigantic Airbus A380 “Super Jumbo” fleets. With hardly anyone traveling, let along flying, there just isn’t enough demand to justify two decks, unless of course – you’re Emirates.
Emirates Adds 6th A380 Destination
While airlines scramble to fill planes of any size, Emirates is aggressively rolling its biggest birds out to markets all over the globe. As of August 16th, the Emirates A380 will begin service to Toronto, adding a North American gateway to the list of current A380 flights including Cairo, London, Paris, Guangzhou and Amsterdam.
As of August 2020, Emirates is serving 70 overall destinations, which represents circa 50% of its pre-pandemic network. The move is in stark contrast to other airlines, many of which have permanently retired the A380, including Air France. Lufthansa also sent six A380’s into retirement.
Qatar Airways recently proclaimed flying the A380 “is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market”, after noting the airline had no plans to bring the aircraft back in service in 2020, or perhaps ever.
Emirates A380’s famously offer private first class suites with doors, the airlines best business class seat, and some of the widest seats, with the most legroom in economy. Sadly, the upstairs bar, and first class showers, two iconic and unique elements of the Emirates A380, are closed for social distancing.
Emirates Re-Launch Success
After temporarily grounding all flights, Emirates seems to be enjoying a secret sauce which is bringing passengers back. That sauce seems to be rooted in safety. Emirates now requires all passengers to present a recent negative covid-19 test pre departure, with Dubai mandating negative tests, even for transit passengers.
As a trade off, all passengers receive complimentary covid-19 coverage, which covers up to €150,000 in expenses, including medical care and repatriation, if you catch covid-19 abroad within 31 days of your departing Emirates flight. The coverage applies even to destinations onward from where your Emirates flights lands, which is impressive.
Emirates also flies the Boeing 777-300, which offers greater cargo capacity, so any move to add the A380 is a clear sign that passenger demand is actually returning, and not just empty hope. As country restrictions begin to lift and more robust and uniform testing measures are put in place at airports around the globe, Emirates is in a strong position to win flyers back.