December 1, 2015 marks the first day of operation for Emirates’ high capacity Airbus A380.
The Airbus A380-800 aircraft with tail: A6EOQ was used to ferry passengers between Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) in its inaugural run. It replaced a Boeing 777-300ER that was on the route previously.
The flight departed and scheduled to arrive on time with a straight path unlike the more curved one the aircraft took en route to the Nordic city.
Emirates, the largest operator of the Airbus A380-800s, equipped this aircraft with 615 seats in two classes. Lower deck would feature an all economy class with 379 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.
Upper deck would feature a mix of economy (120 seats, 2-4-2 configuration) and business (58 seats, 2-4-2). All business class passengers would have direct aisle access from their seats which will also turn into lie-flat beds at a button’s press.
Both classes would have access to WiFi at $1 (for first 500mb)(News – March 27, 2015), USB/AC Power ports and an inflight entertainment system that features the ICE overlay with over 750 channels of movies, music and tv shows. In addition
Copenhagen was picked as the first city with this configuration for a couple of reasons:
- There is a general sense that first class travel is too opulent. The nordic country has the lowest income inequality within the OECD (Source)
- There are a lot of leisure travellers going to South East Asia (such as Bangkok and Phuket) for holidays. The demand for first class is less.
The Middle Eastern airline had two types of Airbus A380-800 previously. Version 1 and 2 differs from the economy seat count for different operations (variance of about 5.7%). With the introduction of the high capacity version, the expansion of total capacity is between 19 to 26% higher.
Economy class contributed to all the capacity increase. The high density version has anywhere between 31 to 40% more seats.
This version also eliminated first class (which featured the first shower suite in the sky) and reduced business class seat count from 76 to 58. Total reduction of premium class seats is at 55%.
With the increased capacity, Emirates can use lower pricing to put pressure on yields in economy class. This will affect network carriers such as Scandinavian Airlines System (SK), Thai Airways International (TG) and Singapore Airlines (SQ) going after the same set of travellers. This will also affect potential plans for low cost carriers like Norwegian from entering the market place as supply will increase dramatically from 3,070 to 5,040 weekly seats (+64%) .
Having a smaller premium cabin signals potential demand weakness for that class of service in the region. As such, prices may not go up due to a lower supply.
Outbound flights to Copenhagen will have morning feeder traffic from Southeast Asia. Arrival at noon will provide time for passengers to transfer to other flights within Europe.
Inbound flights to Dubai provides connections to West Asia (e.g. India) and Southeast Asia (e.g. Bangkok and Hong Kong).
Copenhagen becomes the first city to have the highest capacity A380 in commercial operations. Emirates targets the leisure market with this flight which will increase weekly seat count by 40%. Find out which markets are great candidates for this higher capacity aircraft (here).