Emirates may have slowed down their explosive growth, though they are continuing to add and upgrade their services across their network. As of 25 March 2018, Emirates will be sending exclusively A380’s to Melbourne. As of right now, they are sending A380’s on their nonstop routes, with a 777-300 operating their one-stop service in Singapore. This represents a capacity increase of over 100 seats per day. Emirates has a lot invested with Melbourne, operating direct routes to its Dubai hub, Singapore, and Auckland. This capacity increase on Emirates metal is in addition to the Qantas flights from Melbourne to Dubai with continuing service to London Heathrow daily.
The following flights will all be operated by A380 as of 25 March 2018:
EK408/409 – Departing Dubai at 3:00, arriving Melbourne at 23:20 / Departing Melbourne at 6:00, arriving Dubai at 13:00
EK406/407 – Departing Dubai at 10:15, arriving Melbourne at 6:35 (continuing to AKL) / Departing Melbourne at 22:25, arriving Dubai at 5:30
EK404/405 – Departing Singapore at 22:40, arriving Melbourne at 8:50 / Departing Melbourne at 19:00, arriving Singapore at 23:50
Etihad Discontinues A380 Service
Interestingly, it was just announced that Etihad will be discontinuing their A380 service from Melbourne airport and instead replacing it with a 2 class 777-300 as of 29 March 2017. It will also reduce its other 777-300 service to a 787-9, which will represent a decrease of 196 seats per day. This is unfortunate for those flying from Melbourne as they will lose access to Etihad’s flagship plane, as well as its residence suite, first class apartments, and onboard bar. In addition, with that kind of seat decrease, award availability will be even more difficult to come by.
As of 29 March, Etihad’s service to Melbourne will be operated by the following flights:
EY 462/463 – Departing Abu Dhabi at 9:10, arriving Melbourne at 5:25 / Departing Melbourne at 16:45, arriving Abu Dhabi at 23:55
EY 460/461 – Departing Abu Dhabi at 22:20, arriving Melbourne at 18:55 / Departing Melbourne at 22:50, arriving Abu Dhabi at 6:25
Etihad will be moving its A380 planes from the Melbourne to the Sydney route, leaving the A380 operating the New York, London and Sydney routes from its hub in Abu Dhabi.
It is sad to see Melbourne losing the Etihad A380. I will miss seeing it. That being said, the 787-9 is still nice and has a good business class product, even if it is not up to the same standard as the A380. On the other hand, it is good to see Emirates increasing their presence in the city.