Emirates will begin flying its flagship Airbus A380 between Auckland and Dubai from October 2016, snaring the trophy for the world's longest superjumbo flight.
The Gulf powerhouse and Qantas partner opened the route in March this year using a long-range Boeing 777-200LR jet engineered to handle the non-stop 17 hour, 14,000km trek, although the first flight featured an A380 for added media appeal.
Now the A380 will take over the route on a full-time basis as of October 30.
The superjumbo swap will mean a substantial upgrade for business class to the A380's fully flat beds, without the dreaded middle seat and the cumbersome 2-3-2 layout...
... and also give business travellers the opportunity to mix and mingle at the inflight bar.
Of course, if you're flying right at the pointy end, you can duck out of your first class suite and into one of two showers to freshen up during the flight or shortly before you land.
Emirates is also closing in on the design of its next generation of A380 first class suites, with the final concept for the luxe private apartments due to be signed off by December
PREVIOUS | Qantas partner Emirates will launch its first non-stop flights between Auckland and Dubai in March, linking New Zealand directly with the UAE and providing Kiwis with new one-stop options to Europe.
Using a Boeing 777-200LR – the ‘LR’ representing ‘long range’ as you’d expect – passengers can indulge themselves in one of eight first class suites…
… or can get some rest in business class with 42 angled-flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout: admittedly a step down for travellers accustomed to the fully-flat beds of Emirates’ A380s.
Also unlike the A380, Emirates’ Boeing 777s don’t come with an inflight bar – yet first class passengers can find drinks and snacks at the front of the aircraft for a chance to stand and stretch those legs on what will become the world’s longest flight by distance.
“Operating a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in our sights for some time,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
“We are particularly delighted that we can now bring this exciting plan to fruition,” he added.
Expected to clock in at 17hrs 15min, flight EK449 is wheels-up in Auckland at 9:30pm every night from March 2, touching down in Dubai at 5:45am the following morning.
On the return, EK448 pushes back at 10:05am in Dubai for an 11am arrival into Auckland the next day as a shorter 15hr 55m service.
Emirates’ existing flights between New Zealand and the UAE will retain their Australian stopover, yet this new non-stop option slashes approximately three hours from the total travel time between Auckland and Dubai.
Passengers booked on any of Emirates’ current one-stop Auckland-Dubai flights (via Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) can switch to the new non-stop flight at no charge by contacting Emirates, subject to availability, even if the fare purchased wouldn’t normally allow changes.
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