Emirates upgrades Auckland-Dubai to non-stop Airbus A380

Emirates upgrades Auckland-Dubai to non-stop Airbus A380

Emirates will begin flying its flagship Airbus A380 between Auckland and Dubai from October 2016, snaring the trophy for the world's longest superjumbo flight.

The Gulf powerhouse and Qantas partner opened the route in March this year using a long-range Boeing 777-200LR jet engineered to handle the non-stop 17 hour, 14,000km trek, although the first flight featured an A380 for added media appeal.

Now the A380 will take over the route on a full-time basis as of October 30.

The superjumbo swap will mean a substantial upgrade for business class to the A380's fully flat beds, without the dreaded middle seat and the cumbersome 2-3-2 layout...

Read: Emirates Airbus A380 business class review

... and also give business travellers the opportunity to mix and mingle at the inflight bar.

Read: Emirates Airbus A380 inflight cocktail bar and lounge review

Of course, if you're flying right at the pointy end, you can duck out of your first class suite and into one of two showers to freshen up during the flight or shortly before you land.

Read: Emirates Airbus A380 first class 'shower spa' review

Emirates is also closing in on the design of its next generation of A380 first class suites, with the final concept for the luxe private apartments due to be signed off by December

Read: Emirates to launch new luxury first class A380 suites next year

PREVIOUS | Qantas partner Emirates will launch its first non-stop flights between Auckland and Dubai in March, linking New Zealand directly with the UAE and providing Kiwis with new one-stop options to Europe.

Using a Boeing 777-200LR – the ‘LR’ representing ‘long range’ as you’d expect – passengers can indulge themselves in one of eight first class suites

… or can get some rest in business class with 42 angled-flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout: admittedly a step down for travellers accustomed to the fully-flat beds of Emirates’ A380s.

Also unlike the A380, Emirates’ Boeing 777s don’t come with an inflight bar – yet first class passengers can find drinks and snacks at the front of the aircraft for a chance to stand and stretch those legs on what will become the world’s longest flight by distance.

“Operating a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in our sights for some time,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

“We are particularly delighted that we can now bring this exciting plan to fruition,” he added.

Expected to clock in at 17hrs 15min, flight EK449 is wheels-up in Auckland at 9:30pm every night from March 2, touching down in Dubai at 5:45am the following morning.

On the return, EK448 pushes back at 10:05am in Dubai for an 11am arrival into Auckland the next day as a shorter 15hr 55m service.

Emirates’ existing flights between New Zealand and the UAE will retain their Australian stopover, yet this new non-stop option slashes approximately three hours from the total travel time between Auckland and Dubai.

Passengers booked on any of Emirates’ current one-stop Auckland-Dubai flights (via Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) can switch to the new non-stop flight at no charge by contacting Emirates, subject to availability, even if the fare purchased wouldn’t normally allow changes.

Also read: Emirates Boeing 777 first class review: Melbourne-Singapore

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Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • Alpha  Charlie


    29 Jan, 2016 10:17 am

    Well done Emirates!  Certainly gaining a lot of market share in Oceania.  I wonder if this is a replacement route for the DXB-Panama City route which has been delayed by 2 months due to the abysmal sales on it.

    All we need now is Etihad to start flying to NZ to really start the competition :)

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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    29 Jan, 2016 11:04 am

    Qatar Airways is planning Doha to Auckland using a B777-LR. This would become the longest non-stop scheduled flight in the world.


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  • SuperSonic

    Shoudy Chen

    29 Jan, 2016 01:32 pm

    Not just that but also QR is also planning non-stop ultra long haul flights from Doha to Santiago.

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  • Arunabh Saha


    4 Jun, 2016 07:21 pm

    The DXB-Panama launch was impacted more by the delay in international codeshare approvals on Copa Airlines flights by some Latin American countries in the Caribbean. These are naturally vital for Emirates.

    Etihad Airways, I believe, can't fly to New Zealand as part of its codeshare agreement with Air New Zealand. But I'm not entirely sure about that. Nevertheless, Etihad is currently focussing bedding down its recent Australian expansion, which included the deployment of Airbus A380 and Boeing 787.

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  • hwle


    29 Jan, 2016 10:21 am

    Wow, this is a fantastic announcement! It does make me wonder though whether this flight will be filled - I assume it will be charged at a premium compared to the 1 stop options via Australia.  17+ hours in economy wouldn't be fun either!

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  • StudiodeKadent


    29 Jan, 2016 10:45 am

    17 hours in an Emirates 777 Economy seat?

    The drinks better be strong and the passengers better have a lot of valium on hand because that would be torture. Utter torture. Seriously, routes like these make me just want to beat on Sir Timmy's door and say "come on, just a small Economy Plus section with 9-abreast seating, please!!!"

    Plus EK's old business isn't much to be enthusiastic about either.

    IMO, anyone flying from AKL to Europe who only wants one stop and cannot afford First Class should take Cathay or Singapore.

    That said, I'm somewhat surprised by this route announcement. I would've thought EK/EY/QR would've waited for 777-8s before doing direct AKL flights.

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  • Rod Harmer

    Rod H

    29 Jan, 2016 11:10 am

    I agree withStudiodeKadent . Using a B777-200 LR with those horrible Business Class seats for a 17 hr. flight is beyond sensible comprehension. The seats on the A380 are marginally better but they are still amongst  the worst Business Class seats around , absolutely awful but terrible on the B777.

    No person with any good sense would contemplate sitting for 17 hrs in theses seats , 13 hrs on the A380 Business Class was 13 hrs. too long for me. If SQ or Etihad were allowed to compete on these routes with their B77-200 LR's  the EK Flights would be almost empty.

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  • sgb


    29 Jan, 2016 11:18 am

    Very good news.

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  • sagidec


    29 Jan, 2016 11:26 am

    Super long flight on a tight plane!

    What are the newer jets that can take on this B777-200LR? A350-900 as per SQ's plan for SIN - LAX

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  • Martin  Slobodnik


    29 Jan, 2016 12:19 pm

    Wonder if QF will codeshare on this service.

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  • kimshep


    29 Jan, 2016 12:45 pm

    Operating a non-stop service between Dubai and Auckland has been in our sights for some time,” ...

    Seems a little curious then that the press announcement (and the allowance for existing one-stop bookings to be able to switch) is announced only one month before startup of the route in March.

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  • AndrewYes


    29 Jan, 2016 04:31 pm

    What's with all the latest new routes into and out of NZ!!!

    Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Emirates (direct to Dubai), Qatar (potentially).

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  • NZFlyer


    29 Jan, 2016 10:09 pm

    Plus NZ to EZE & IAH, PR to MNL via CNS, CA to PEK, AA to LAX, UA to SFO, JQ to RAR, CZ on CHC-CAN... Plus probably more i have missed

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  • eminere


    30 Jan, 2016 01:17 am

    AirAsia X will also be extending its KUL-OOL flights to AKL.

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  • Looking


    2 Feb, 2016 08:05 pm

    SQ flying Wellington - Canberra - Singers too.

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  • bodez


    29 Jan, 2016 06:38 pm

    Good news.

    I see potential for an expanded tie up with QF, which could see one of the EK  BKK or SIN stopover services jump straight onto Auckland instead of Australia with QF picking up the Australia to SIN leg. This could allow EK another direct aus to DXB flight. In addition, if QF coded on SIN/BKK to AKL which would give NZ/SQ a run for their money. 

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  • williamsusanto


    29 Jan, 2016 07:50 pm

    That's the way to travel now. With another exciting nonstop flights introduce from point to point to max new aircraft utilization. UNITED launches newnonstop from SFO hub to SIN in July 2016 utilizing B789. 8441 NM with flying time 16 hours 35 mins & SIN back to SFO for 15 hours 30 mins. This will wonder what SQ is thinking for waiting for 2018 if it is really going to realize to offer nonstop using A350 ULR. AWESOME with more nonstop market opens up. Great way to fly.

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  • highflyer


    30 Jan, 2016 03:06 am

    hmmmm... angled flat beds for the world's longest flight... no thanks

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  • eminere


    31 Jan, 2016 06:03 pm

    Simple solution: fly F.

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  • lind26


    30 Jan, 2016 08:48 pm

    Non stop is the way to go. No point in building these long range planes if airlines don't utilise the potential

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  • Ryan Stephen


    3 Jun, 2016 11:38 pm

    At this rate even Adelaide will get an A380 by EK! But I definitely want Tim Clark to seat in Y on the inaugural service.

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  • Chris_PER


    4 Jun, 2016 11:09 am

    4, maybe 5 (SQ) A380s on the ground at once in Auckland.

    Can't imagine that would be a very pleasant situation for the traveller since they're struggling for gate space already.

    Also, I wonder how much traffic is being cannibalised from the AUS-AKL services.

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  • log0008


    4 Jun, 2016 12:38 pm

    Amazing stuff - 4 EK A380's on the ground at the same time, assuming this is not matched anywhere but DBX? Also how many other cities get 4?


    Based on aviation load factors by the department of infustruture and regional dev EK's cross tasman routes had a load factor of around 90% interesting to see if this changes 

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  • aldrigsomandre


    24 Jun, 2016 11:49 am

    LAX gets a few A380's at the same time from different airlines. LHR has all A380 flights from Emirates, so maybe there.

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  • Arunabh Saha


    4 Jun, 2016 07:14 pm

    This is absolutely smashing news although not much of a surprise considering that Emirates is now well known for going the distance boldly. However, I am wondering whether the Airbus A380 will be able to fly the Dubai-Auckland-Dubai legs with full payload. There may be some payload restrictions as the A380's range is lesser than the Boeing 777-200LRs that currently ply on the route.

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  • aklrunway


    6 Jun, 2016 08:00 am

    Didn't see that one coming... said no one ever

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  • comeflywithme


    8 Jun, 2016 09:25 pm

    Is this the beginning of the end of Trans-Tasman F? Let's hope not!

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  • Ryan Stephen


    24 Jun, 2016 05:23 pm

    There are still lots of PAX from Oz to warrant Trans-Tasman 380s.

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22 Jul, 2019 10:41 pm


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