Emirates may suspend A380 operations to Mumbai?


Five minutes after we published our original story, an Emirates spokesperson sent us this statement [bsu_quote cite=”Emirates spokesperson”]Emirates will continue to operate its iconic A380 aircraft on the Dubai-Mumbai route for the remainder of the summer 2014 timetable as planned, as flight numbers EK500/EK501. Details of the airline’s winter timetable which is due to commence on 26 October are still being finalised and further information will be shared later this month.[/bsu_quote] For the information of readers we had waited over three hours before publishing the story.

Original story

Just about three months after it started its first scheduled Airbus A380 super-jumbo service to India, gulf major Emirates may suspend its lone A380 flight to India.

The Dubai-based airline, the largest operator of the A380, had up-gauged its EK500 and EK501 flights from July 21 to an A380. From the winter schedule which commences October 26, 2014, the airline’s website shows the flight being returned back to the earlier Boeing 777-300ER service.


Emirates’ A380 to Mumbai was configured with 14 private first class suites, 76 business class lie-flat seats, and 399 economy class seats which are 18 inches wide. The Boeing 777-300ER is no slouch. It has eight private first class suites, 42 business class angled lay-flat seats, and 304 or 310 economy class seats which are a narrow 17 inches in width.

The move is extremely surprising considering the service is just three months old. While the airline has still not responded to our request for a comment, the natural assumption is that Emirates is not achieving the required loads, however, the reason could also lie elsewhere. Stay tuned for our next story.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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  1. I would expect the other A380 operator to follow suit. On my last trip to Mumbai made at short notice (booking made two hours before departure), the Singapore Airlines A380 was the only flight with space available (and it was over 40% empty). In contrast, my return on their 777 the next day had no free seats.

    The A380 is a mega plane – only for those huge demand routes – and where airlines need some marketing PR.

    No doubt it’s a gorgeous plane, but the 777 is a strong competitor.

    • No doubt. The 777-300ER is the world’s best selling twin aisle “mini-jumbo” for a reason.

      What day of the week did you travel with 40% seats empty? Also please keep in mind the SQ 777 service is a 777-200 not a -300ER.

      • Singapore Mumbai was on a Wednesday ~8pm, while Mumbai Singapore was Friday ~11am โ€”
        Sahir Siddiqui

        • Therein lies your answer. Mid-week flights are light. Weekends full. Please remember the morning Mumbai flight connects to Australasia and North Asia night flights ex Singapore. People want to return home for the weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Very bad research, the real reason is the LH A380 Arriving in BOM, Since only one of the four planned A380 gates are ready at the moment, EK will move the A380 to EK 504/505 slot in the morning, Clearly the decks for LH to bring in its big bird

    • And where did you get the information that the EK A380 is being moved to the morning slot? Please do not try to trow stones when you yourself seem to know nothing. The EK A380 was given preference over LH, so much so that LH cancelled it’s planned 747-8i service since the code F gate was not available. So why was EK suddenly feeling charitable to LH?

      • Vec. Humble request. Little bit of shanti shanti shanti. Jason is privy to some information he is sharing and I am happy, since he is ultimately contributing to the information pool that Bangalore Aviation readers enjoy.

        Like you, I disagree with his characterisation of our report. As I explained to him, we must be responsible in our reporting and therefore we place self-imposed restrictions.

    • You appear to be privy to internal information which we are not. Thanks for sharing it. I am sure the readers will love to know that EK will continue its A380 service on the EK504/505 flights. The airline statements have been put as part of the story. I am sure you will appreciate we have to go with the information we have at the time. You are accusing us of poor research, one the other side we are accused of speculating or giving voice to rumours and innuendos. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Do observe, this story also ends saying the real reason may lie elsewhere and therefore stay tuned for more information.

      If you read our story on the LH A380 service, we cite this as a possible reason for the shift by EK. While reliable sources say LH has received permission from the Ministry, officially if the airline does not, we cannot put words in their mouth.

      Thanks for the feedback though. Will try and improve in the future.

  3. I believe India is not the market where Emirates can make profit using their premium products. So its viable for them to use their A380 on other major profitable EU or North American routes. Increasing competition from other Gulf and EU carriers made Emirates to use B777. And also you should have a competitive ticket price to India. So 2 engined B777 looks more profitable then a 4 engined A380. Does someone have avg load factor for Emirates A380 out of Mumbai?? Please share the info.

    • If we analyse on a point to point basis, no flight of Emirates to/from India is profitable. EK uses its India flights to feed its long distance network, and this is where they make their profits.

      • Ofcourse you are right! I have lived in the EU for more than 8 yrs. I travel to India almost once in 6-8months. The flight from CDG or FRA or LHR-DXB will be good but the next leg from DXB-Any Indian cities will be just above average. Even the cabin products are not upto date. And also it is a nightmare transiting at Dubai. There are many travelers like me who now try to avoid Emirates and many prefer point to point connect especially family travelers. Big 3 EU carriers almost fly to all the big metros as Emirates does but with a better service. AI’s 777-300ERs or B787 seats are much more comfortable than EK’s. Look at Lufthansa they always try to use their latest products. They use their 747-8I to BLR in which I am now a frequent flyer. Big cabin, good service and good connectivity. I see over 80% occupancy everytime sometimes full flight during peak season. I live in Toulouse, France If I travel LH or AF or BA i can reach BLR in 1 Stop but with Emirates I have to make 2 stops. So Emirates will get a tough competition unless they try to stand out from other carriers. More PR activites, Promotions, especially better product and Service between IND-DXB. This is just my opinion and experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I would just like to point out that the 17-inch seat width on EK 777s is by EK’s choice as they have decided to have 10-abreast seats on 777s. Vast majority of 777 operators operate with 9 abreast seating. Jet AW was the latest to follow the EK choice and on at least two occasions I have avoided flying Jet for that reason.

    • Most airlines are now moving to the 10 abreast seating on their 777-300ERs. Even Qatar Airways will move to 10 abreast on their 777-9Xs. Unfortunately it’s a trend that will continue to grow.

      However, most non-gulf carriers who do fly 10 abreast also offer a premium economy class, which gives the wider seat to those willing to pay a little more. My beef with the middle east carriers is that they do not offer the premium economy and then go straight to a business class which is almost three to four times more expensive.

      • Indeed Devesh, could not agree more with you. Once a major carrier does this then others have to follow to be competitive. Also good point about the prem eco. But on the other hand I feel cheated too ;o) ME carriers do not want to know a poor bugger like me. They just want J and F customers!!!

        • The 380 on such short haul routes may not be viable(except routes like DXB-JED). Our expectation from EK is too much! On the other hand – relating to seat pitch, I prefer the old EK330s 2 seats towards the windows- gives me ” business like” feeling, easy to get out, no middle seats. Unfortunately there are no more new 330s in EK! 777s-Crush the cattle class and pamper the business class! No more fun flying the EK- let us wait for our desi carriers to come up!

      • Devesh, the Airline Quality site clearly reflects this!! http://www.airlinequality.com/Product/Yseat-EK.htm

      • 10 abreast on a 777X has 18″ wide seats thanks to thinner walls on that airplane. 10 abreast on a 772 or 773 has 17″ seats. Unfortunately carriers are moving 10 abreast on all current 777s and 9-abreast on most 787s, making 17″ economy seats the norm.
        In the future, I will seek out airlines that operate the 777X, the A350 and A330NEO. Those are the platforms that guarantee 18″ seats in Y.

        • Actually none of the new Boeing wide-bodies in dense abreast config will be 18″ width. The current 17.4″ seat in the 9 abreast 787 will continue on the 10 abreast 777X. Even QR will switch to 10 abreast on the 777X.