The behemoth airliner, the Emirates Airbus A380, returned to service this morning (15th July) after months of grounding due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates announced scheduled flights EK001 to London Heathrow from their hub in Dubai, UAE departing at 0745hrs and EK073 to Paris Charles De Gaulle at 0820hrs using their flagship aircraft.
The A380 has been a staple part of the Emirates fleet for long-haul travel and their luxurious image. "It defined us, in many respects," Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, said in an interview with Business Insider. "We've spent an inordinate amount on product, both in-flight and on the ground, and that's really paid off."
Emirates Airbus A380. Photo by Chris Phan | AeroNewsX
The A380 remains in high demand for Emirates' customers with Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer saying: “The A380 remains a popular aircraft amongst our customers and it offers many unique on-board features. We are delighted to bring it back into the skies to serve our customers on flights to London and Paris from 15 July, and we are looking forward to gradually introduce our A380 into more destinations according to the travel demand on specific destinations. The Emirates A380 experience remains unique in the industry, and even though we’ve modified services onboard for the health and safety of our crew and customers, we are confident that our customers would welcome flying again in this quiet, comfortable aircraft.”
The return of the A380 indicates a very positive sign of recovery for the aviation industry which has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Emirates was forced to suspend most its services in late March. However, following the announcement that Dubai will re-open to business and leisure visitors from 7 July, new destinations have begun to be serviced again by Emirates, with over 50 destinations currently covered. New travel protocols have been established internationally to allow travel to reopen, and in the UAE there have also been "careful measures to ensure the health and safety of travellers and communities."
Emirates owns 115 A380 in its fleet with 8 pending delivery. They have flown over 105 million passengers since 2008 and covered over 1 billion kilometres. The aircraft offers a three class layout with economy, business and first class. The Emirates A380 first class cabin offers private suites and showers, while also boasting an onboard lounge.