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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Emirates to increase capacity to London amid high festive season demand  

Some flights from Gatwick will ditch first class to increase seats in economy and business, airline says

Emirates will drop first class on three A380 flights between Dubai and London Gatwick. Kamran Jebreili / AP
Emirates will drop first class on three A380 flights between Dubai and London Gatwick. Kamran Jebreili / AP

Emirates airline, the world’s biggest operator of A380 ­Jumbo aircraft, said it would add six new flights from Dubai to London during the Christmas ­period, and increase capacity on existing services in response to high passenger demand.

The airline said it would drop first class on three A380 flights between Dubai and London Gatwick, operating a two-class configuration instead, to cater to heightened demand from economy and business class passengers.

The changes that were made “following exceptional customer demand” over the holiday season would increase capacity by 4,320 seats, Emirates said.

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The six additional flights are between Dubai and London Heathrow on six days of the festive period: December 15 to 17 inclusive, and January 5 to 7 ­inclusive.

EK2641 will depart from Dubai at 15:15 and arrive at London Heathrow at 19:15; and EK2642 will depart from London Heathrow at 21:10 and arrive in Dubai at 8:00 the following day.

The additional flights will be operated by a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.

The two-class flights on the Gatwick route include EK0010 on December 19; EK0010/EK 0012 on December 20; EK0012 on December 21; EK0012 on December 23; EK0010 on ­December 28, EK0010 on December 30 and EK0010 on ­December 31.

Will Horton, senior analyst at the Centre for Aviation, said contrary to some media reports, the planned changes are “fairly limited in period”.

“The Heathrow flights are boosted on only a handful of days.

“It’s a pragmatic and opportunistic switch but not a structural change to Emirates’ position in the UK,” he noted .

“These extra flights are in response to demand over the festive period,” said Saj Ahmad, an aviation analyst based in London, adding that reports that first class is being dropped on all flights to the United Kingdom were clearly inaccurate.

“First-class services will ­remain in place and Emirates is doing the right thing by ­adding capacity on key sectors over a busy holiday period to fulfil demand that would otherwise would be lost to ­competitors.”

Emirates said the top five destinations for British nationals flying out of Emirates’ five UK gateways over the Christmas period are usually Dubai, Bangkok, Perth, Sydney and ­Auckland.

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