Emirates Launching A380 Service To Dallas DFW Airport

In February I posted about the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport board being asked to approve construction for a new gate which could accommodate the A380. This would be completed by October 1, 2014, the anticipated date that the unnamed airline would begin A380 service to DFW.

My money was on it being either British Airways or Qantas. Dallas is a huge American hub, so when you’re launching A380 service you’d think having connecting feed from that airport would be important.

The only other airline that I thought was even a possibility was Emirates. I wrote the following about them:

I think Emirates is highly unlikely, since they don’t partner with American, so therefore they’d be relying almost solely on passengers originating or terminating in Dallas. Also, they only fly a 777-200LR to Dallas, so aren’t even flying their larger 777-300ER to Dallas, which suggests they don’t think the demand and/or yields are there.

Why do I think it’s even a possibility? Well, the two other Middle Eastern “giants,” Etihad and Qatar, are launching service to Dallas this year, so Emirates could just be sending them a message that they’re the Middle Eastern “alpha male.” And Emirates does have the largest A380 fleet of any airline, so it wouldn’t proportionally be as much of a fleet commitment for them as it would be for other airlines.

The new service was finally revealed today, and it will indeed be Emirates launching A380 service to DFW Airport as of October 1, 2014.

I guess this really shouldn’t be surprising. On one hand I have a hard time imagining the A380 couldn’t be better utilized elsewhere, but really this is just a power play by Emirates. Qatar Airways is launching service from Doha as of July 1, and Etihad is launching service from Abu Dhabi as of December 3, so I guess this is Emirates’ way of welcoming them into the market.

For what it’s worth the aircraft type has already been loaded into the GDS, and should appear for reservations starting October 1, 2014.

Emirates-Award-Availability

What do you guys think of the announcement? Surprised, or did you expect this?

Comments

  1. Cory says

    I am surprised. I was definitely thinking Qantas. I did not think the market between Dallas and Dubai is robust enough. But, I say that knowing nothing and just looking at it on its face.

  2. Chuck says

    I live in Texas I would not have expected Emirate to be the one doing it. My bet was on Qantas. Right now they cant get a DFW – SYD nonstop because of current aircraft limitations. The 380 would have solved this and been a BIG boost to the connecting feed to ONE WORLD US AA BA at DFW. Maybe Qantas will eventually. One mega gate could be utilized by 2 carriers.

  3. Riley says

    Lucky, could this mean there are plans in the works for Emirates and American to become partners?

  4. says

    @ Riley — Anything is possible, but I kind of doubt it. American partners with both Etihad and Qatar, so short of cutting those ties, don’t think they could sustain a relationship with Emirates as well.

  5. PB says

    I’m really surprised it was them. Not trying to say Houston is better than Dallas, but Houston’s economy relies on oil and gas more so than Dallas’ so an A380 to Houston would make more sense. I’m not sure if IAH has updated their facilities to accommodate another A380, but I’m guessing once 380 production is stabilized Emirates will fly the 380 to Houston.

  6. nazgul says

    One day EK is going to start offering A380 flights from ppl’s backyards…it just a matter of time….

  7. AJ says

    yay for cheap ass fares to india now from DFW due to the bloodbath that is coming. Can’t wait :-)

  8. Sam says

    I guess in a way, it is indeed Qantas flying to DFW. With the strategic partnerships between Emirates and Qantas, Ek will fly DFW passengers to DXB, and connect on to Australia.

    Sure its a longer route, but its also hitting 2 birds with one stone.

  9. VJ says

    I fully expected this. My mom travelled on the 777 DFW flight a bunch of times during the off peak season, and was surprised how full it was(overbooked). I travelled with her but I flew from LAX and the LAX flight had a much lower load factor than her 777 flight.

    There is clear demand for this flight.

  10. Joey says

    As far as EK, I’m not too surprised given how many A380s they have in operation (46 I believe.) Just thinking about it, EK might even provide A380 service from DFW to SYD as a fifth freedom flight. I recall reading someplace that EK wanted to circumnavigate the globe by adding transpacific routes.

  11. Ivan Y says

    @ Joey — since Qantas flies DFW-SYD, perhaps EK could do IAH-SYD? Need more routes to Australia.

    @ Sam — Qantas does fly to DFW already but I guess it’s not busy enough to justify an A380.

  12. David says

    I read (Jack Harty’s article) that IAH is redoing their International terminal (bc it needs it) to accommodate more space for A380s.
    And also that at least 3/4 more airlines are interested in flying A380s to IAH, eventually. Thought EK would be one of them.

  13. Ivan Y says

    @ David — thank you for mentioning the article about IAH’s redesign plans — it sounds like it will take quite awhile. And, yes, the airport person mentioned two airlines are interested in flying A380s. Perhaps if they don’t arrive during the afternoon crunch?

    Also, on the same site there’s another article that mentions EVA wants to start flying to Chicago and Houston in 2015. So looks like we’ll be able to go from Houston directly to Seoul (on Korean; daily), Beijing (on Air China; daily), Tokyo (on United; twice daily), and supposedly Taipei on EVA. And, of course, to Singapore via Moscow on Singapore (5 times a week now but they bump it up to daily some times, IIRC).

  14. Drew says

    Lucky, am I reading this correctly that the A380 will be delivered to DFW and the first flight of the route will be DFW-DXB and now DXB-DFW?

    According to expertflyer.com on 9/30 the plane from DXB to DFW is a 777 while the return flight on 10/1 is a 388.

    Will the 777 just return to DXB empty, or be routed elsewhere?

  15. David says

    @ Ivan- and to add to the the Korean Air/ Eva Air expansion, another future option to Moscow from IAH- on Transaero! Eventually. I believe they’ve at least filed for it.

  16. says

    @ Drew — It actually originates in DXB. The flight leaves after midnight from DXB (at 2:45AM), so it turns same day. I see it scheduled as an A380 in both directions on the 1st.

  17. Ivan Y says

    @ David — I saw that news awhile back but based on comments from others (and common sense), I believe that Transaero’s flight is just a renewal of their codeshare with SQ. What would be awesome is LX and/or OS coming to Houston so we could have more options to Europe.

  18. Duncan says

    In Oz we refer to Qantas as “Emiroo” and wouldn’t be surprised if QF didn’t upgrade their flight to A380. This would give Emiroo 3 RTW routes of A380’s using the groups fleets.

  19. Greg says

    Hi Lucky,
    Question: why is it that so many flight departures from Dubai, Doha, and India leave at the weirdest hours (2am, 3am, etc). Just noticed the DXB-DFW departs at 2:45am. And that’s not unusual. Why?

  20. Lantean says

    @Greg

    because they are flights for connecting passengers. many other flights arrive around 11pm-1am…
    when i flew thru there my flight departed singapore in the evening, arrived dubai around midnight and my connection was at 3 am… got to nyc in teh morning local time.
    it all worked out beacuse it was set up this way. ;)

  21. says

    @ Greg — Hah, midday is actually pretty quiet at Dubai Airport, it’s the middle of the night where it’s bustling. The short answer is because Dubai is kind of a global gateway, and by having flights arrive/depart in the middle of the night, they can provide convenient connections to elsewhere in the world. Emirates almost always arrives/departs during the day at their longhaul destinations, which requires them to depart in the middle of the night from Dubai.

  22. Drew says

    Thanks for that info lucky. Do we know if its a brand new A380 straight from the factory or if they are adjusting their routes and pull an A380 that has already been in service?

  23. says

    @ Drew — Since this flight won’t be operated by a single A380 I highly doubt it’s brand new. Probably just another that’s “cycling” through the system.

  24. Charlie says

    Horrible decision by EK. I actually go out of my way to avoid EK 380s – yes they are nice and they are a ‘novelty’ item to some, but once you’ve actually been aboard it (unless you have the privilege of being in first class), then you realise how horrible it’s business and economy classes are. Just too many people to look after.

  25. says

    @ Charlie — Except with Emirates the A380s are the only aircraft with fully flat seats in business class. So despite the number of seats, still seems like the best option by far, no?

  26. says

    @ Lukasz — Given that they’re just launching Chicago service, I highly doubt that will happen anytime soon.

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