Emirates Airline has announced plans to become the first carrier to operate a regularly scheduled A380 service to London Gatwick airport.
From March 20 2014, the airline’s 489-seat A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on EK flight 09/10, bringing a 36 percent increase in capacity on one of its three daily flights, the carrier said in a statement.
“London Gatwick was our first destination in the UK when we launched our services to the airport in 1987. It continues to be a strategic gateway not only into London but also into the regions of the Southeast and we are pleased to be the first airline to introduce a daily scheduled A380 service to the airport,” said Thierry Antinori, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Emirates Airline.
"Our support for London Gatwick’s long-term growth plans is aligned with our global strategy to optimise capacity on our major routes and to offer our passengers with ever more opportunities to fly on our A380s,” he added.
Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “Scheduled A380 services further demonstrate Gatwick’s emergence as a world-class airport, which now supports routes to established and emerging markets across the globe, and is rapidly becoming London’s airport of choice for both business and leisure passengers.
"This news is testament to the strong partnership we have with Emirates and its confidence in Gatwick as a dynamic, ambitious airport which has vastly improved and enhanced facilities for its airlines and passengers in recent years,” continued Wingate.
Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft in the world with 44 in its fleet and 96 on order, after its historic announcement to add 50 more at the Dubai Airshow in November.
So far this year, Emirates has received 13 A380 aircraft which have been deployed to its network of 24 A380 destinations.
Emirates’ current A380 destinations are Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, and Brisbane.
Emirates will start operating scheduled A380 services to Zurich and Barcelona from January and February 2014 respectively.