As airlines fight to claim ownership of the “world’s longest flight operator” title, Emirates is heading the opposite route in the distance stakes.
The Dubai-based airline has just announced plans to launch the world’s shortest flight on the world’s biggest commercial plane – the double-decker Airbus A380.
Two daily A380 flights between Dubai and Muscat International Airport are scheduled to take to the skies on July 1.
The distance between the two cities is just 340 kilometers (211 miles). Fun fact: That’s shorter than the length of all the wiring in the A380, which, according to plane manufacturer Airbus, would stretch over 500 kilometers if laid out end to end.
The new flights will break Emirates’ own record. The airline previously operated the world’s shortest scheduled A380 service, between Dubai and Doha – a distance of 379 kilometers (235 miles).
However, Emirates canceled all fights to Doha in 2017 because of the ongoing diplomatic row between Qatar and the UAE.
A seamless ‘all A380’ journey
The airline says the flights will offer long-haul travelers heading to and from Muscat via Dubai a seamless ‘all A380’ journey. Emirates has been flying to Oman since 1993, but its three daily services to Muscat are all serviced by Boeing 777-300ER jets.
“The introduction of the A380 services to Muscat means more of our customers will have the opportunity to experience our industry-leading products onboard, and will also enhance choice and travel preferences as they plan their journeys,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice president of Emirates’ Commercial Operations Centre, in a statement.
The morning flight, EK 862, will depart Dubai at 8:25 a.m., arriving in Muscat at 9:40 a.m. The return flight, EK 863, will depart Muscat at 11:15 a.m., arriving in Dubai at 12:25 p.m.
Later that day, EK 864 will depart Dubai at 4:10 p.m. and will arrive in Muscat at 5:25 p.m. EK 865 will leave Muscat at 7:05 p.m., arriving in Dubai at 8:15 p.m.
The two A380 Muscat flights will offer Emirates’ usual three-class configuration, with 429 seats in Economy Class on the lower deck, as well as 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper deck.
Want more time to enjoy the journey? Emirates also operates the longest non-stop flight on an A380, between Dubai and Auckland, New Zealand. That journey takes about 16 hours.
End of an era
Fans of the A380 were saddened in February when Airbus announced plans to halt production of the jets following huge cuts in orders.
Since Airbus’ first delivery to Singapore Airlines in 2007, more than 230 A380s have rolled off the assembly line in Toulouse, France. More than 100 of these are flown by Emirates, making it the world’s largest operator of the super-jumbo.
Airbus will deliver its last A380 orders in 2021.
As the world’s largest commercial plane, the A380 typically carries around 550 passengers on two full-length levels, though has the capacity to hold up to 850 travelers.
Measuring close to 73 meters in length, it has a range of 8,478 nautical miles.
The double-decker was developed at a cost of $25 billion. It’s made up of about four million individual parts produced by 1,500 companies from 30 countries around the world.