Emirates First to Fly A380 to London Gatwick

United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier Emirates Airline will be the first operator to fly the Airbus A380 to London Gatwick Airport on a regular scheduled basis when it introduces the type on one of its daily flights from Dubai International Airport from spring 2014.  Emirates already utilises the type on multiple daily flights between its Middle East hub and London Heathrow as well as on one of its flights to Manchester.

A 489-seat version of the A380 will replace a Boeing 777-300ER on Emirates’ ‘EK009/EK010’ – one of three daily rotations it offers between Dubai and London Gatwick – from March 30, 2014.  The two passenger decks of the A380 will offer 399 seats in Economy Class, 76 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 14 luxury First Class Private Suites and its deployment will boost its capacity on the service by 36 per cent.

“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 long term strategic partnership with London Gatwick enables us to bring our flagship A380 on a regularly scheduled basis and build on our robust presence at the airport. 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.

The launch of scheduled services with the A380 on the Dubai – London Gatwick route follows Emirates’ use of the aircraft on a one-off service in March this year, following a previous visit for familiarisation purposes.  The airline has also used the airport as a diversionary option when conditions at London Heathrow have meant the type has not be able to land at London’s largest airport.

“Emirates and Gatwick have worked successfully together for more than 25 years so we are delighted that we will welcome its iconic A380 next year. 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,” said Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer, London Gatwick.

Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft in the world with 44 in its fleet and 96 on order, after confirming a deal to add 50 more at the Dubai Airshow in November this year.  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, Brisbane, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney and Toronto.  Emirates will start operating scheduled A380 services to Zurich and Barcelona from January and February 2014 respectively.

The deployment by Emirates of the A380 on services to a third UK airport is due to a continuing growth in traffic between UAE and the UK.  According to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, passenger numbers between the UK and UAE have grown 152.21 per cent from 2.02 million in 2002 to 5.10 million last year.  According to our own estimates just 36.9 per cent of this traffic in 2012 was point-to-point with the remainder connecting in UAE to other destinations across the networks of Emirates Airline (in Dubai) and Etihad Airways (in Abu Dhabi).



Total Passengers

% Annual Growth



4.3 %



6.5 %



5.7 %



7.3 %



8.4 %



14.8 %



13.0 %



13.6 %



25.4 %



12.7 %