Emirates will add a second daily Airbus A380 flight between Melbourne and Dubai from May 2, doubling capacity to the Victorian capital in time for Aussies to enjoy a European summer.
The extra daily superjumbo to Melbourne continues the Gulf carrier’s confidence in the rebounding demand from Australia and matches the two daily A380 flights the Qantas partner currently operates out of Sydney.
As of May 1, Emirates’ Dubai-Melbourne schedule will be
- EK408, departing Dubai at 2:40am to reach Melbourne at 9:50pm the same day.
- EK406, departing Dubai at 10:05am to reach Melbourne at 5:30am the next morning.
As of May 2, Emirates’ Melbourne-Dubai schedule will be
- EK409, leaving Melbourne at 5:15am and arriving in Dubai at 1.10pm on the same day.
- EK407, leaving Melbourne at 9:15pm and arriving in Dubai at 5:15am the following morning.
The airline says the addition of the second daily A380 service "will also offer customers more convenience with the option of choosing a morning or evening flight, for optimal onwards connection opportunities when they stop in Dubai."
"The newly expanded flight schedule also means our customers can experience three continents in one day, enjoying their breakfast in Australia, lunch in Dubai, and dinner in Europe" says Barry Brown, Emirates Divisional Vice President for Australasia.
Emirates is also flying an A380 daily from Brisbane, with the city graduating from the Boeing 777 to the mega-jet three months earlier than the planned date of June 17, while Perth is seeing more love from Emirates with the current four-times-weekly B777 service going daily from May 1
But something that’s not coming back, at least until the second half of 2022, are Emirates’ Australian lounges – including its Melbourne international lounge.
Travellers in Emirates first and business class, along with top-tier Skywards Platinum and Gold frequent flyers, will be able to use the Qantas first class and business class lounges when they reopen on March 27 – provided the opening hours of those lounges align with the timing of your Emirates flight.
(If you’re toting the right type of AMEX card, another option may be the American Express lounge once it reopens from the end of March.)
Travellers love the A380
Lorie Argus, Chief of Aviation at Melbourne Airport, has welcomed Emirates' superjumbo-sized vote of confidence, saying the double-decker A380 "is the world’s largest passenger jet and a favourite with travellers."
The return of the superjumbo will be welcomed by travellers eager to swap that long trek on the older Boeing jets for the quieter and modern A380, especially when it comes to the more spacious business class seats and private first class suites, plus of course that iconic cocktail bar.
Emirates' Australian-bound A380s feature 14 enclosed first class suites and 76 business class seats, although not the airline's new premium economy, launched in December 2020 and still found on only a handful of jets.
However, those premium economy recliners will be added to 52 of Emirates' flagship Airbus A380s – along with and 53 Boeing 777s – from the end of 2022 through to mid-2024.
(As previously reported, Emirates is also assessing an all-new business class seat with a modern 1-2-1 layout for its Boeing 777 fleet.)
First class flyers will be happy to find the two shower suites are still in operation – it's still among the most indulgent experiences you can enjoy on a commercial aircraft, as our review details.
Emirates counts 123 superjumbos in its globe-striding fleet, and late last year took delivery of the last A380 ever to be built, as Airbus ended production of the world’s largest commercial airliner just over 15 years since its inaugural flight.
“It defined us, in many respects,” noted Emirates president Sir Tim Clark. “We’ve spent an inordinate amount on product, both in flight and on the ground, and that’s really paid off.”
And Clark intends to sweat that substantial investment, with the A380s set to still be flying “until the mid ‘30s” as they’re gradually replaced by the next-generation Boeing 777X.
By the end of this decade and the beginning of the next, Emirates' heavy-duty fleet strategy will involve “using the A380s on the trunk routes, barreling through from east to west and north to south... with the 777X gradually slipping in to replace the A380s that eventually retire.”