Emirates Plans 3rd Daily London Gatwick A380 Flight After The Giant’s Auckland Return

Emirates is well known for being the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380, with more than 100 examples of the ‘superjumbo’ in its fleet. These double-decker quadjets will be a more common sight at London Gatwick Airport going forward, after the Dubai-based UAE flag carrier added a third daily rotation using the type.

As Emirates explains in a corresponding statement, the purpose of this is “to meet sustained demand ahead of the holiday rush.” The third rotation will see the A380 operate a set of flights that previously saw service from the Boeing 777-300ER, and this change in aircraft will have a meaningful impact on the route’s capacity.


Indeed, Emirates notes that there are now more than 1,000 seats available in each direction between Dubai International Airport (DXB) and London Gatwick (LGW) every day. The Dubai-Gatwick flight that has seen this replacement is EK11, which data from shows was the domain of the 777 until October 29th.

After an operational hiatus of just over a month, Emirates then began operating it once again with the A380 on December 1st. It is scheduled to depart Dubai at 02:50 local time, and reach Gatwick just under eight hours later at 06:40. The return (EK12) departs at 09:40, and touches down just under seven hours later at 20:30.

Extensive UK connections

Emirates flight EK11 is the first of three A380 flights that the UAE flag carrier operates from Dubai to Gatwick every day. The other two depart at 07:40 (EK15) and 14:25 (EK09). The fact that they are so well spread reflects Emirates’ network strategy, which sees it use Dubai as a connecting hub throughout the day.

As it happens, Gatwick is far from the only UK airport that the world’s largest A380 operator serves. Indeed, Emirates presently operates 119 UK-bound flights a week! Alongside Gatwick’s three daily flights, Heathrow (six) sees the most, followed by Manchester (three), Birmingham (two), Glasgow, Newcastle, and Stansted (all one).

The fact that Emirates has been able to reintroduce its third Dubai-Gatwick rotation using the Airbus A380 reflects the type’s increasing return to service at the carrier. Despite the superjumbo being one of aviation’s most significant coronavirus casualties, Emirates has remained loyal to the quadjet. Data from shows that, at present, 84 of its 116 A380s (72.4%) are active.

Emirates Airbus A380 & Tiger Moth

Photo: Emirates

Back in New Zealand

The A380’s increasing return to service at Emirates, as well as growing demand for intercontinental travel, have also seen the carrier deploy the superjumbo on its Dubai-Auckland route once again. This is the first time that it has done so since February 2020. The A380 restarted non-stop service on flight EK448 on December 1st, replacing Boeing 777-operated flights via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The fact that the flight now runs non-stop also allowed EK448 to take back its crown as Emirates’ longest route. The carrier explains that it “[clocks] in 14,200 km, with an estimated flight time of just under 16 hours from Dubai to New Zealand and 17 hours, 15 minutes in the other direction.” Emirates currently flies the A380 to 37 cities worldwide, with this figure planned to increase to 42 by March.

What do you make of the A380’s return to Auckland and its increased presence at Gatwick? Have you ever flown on a superjumbo? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


  • Emirates, Airbus A380, Penultimate


    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates

  • GATWICK Airport

    London Gatwick Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United Kingdom

    Stewart Wingate

    Passenger Count :
    6,260,000 (2021)

    Runways :
    08L/26R – 2,565m (8,415ft) |08R/26L – 3,316m (10,879ft)

    North Terminal |South Terminal

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