Emirates Announces World’s Shortest A380 Route To Kuwait

Emirates announced yesterday that they’ll be launching once daily A380 service between Dubai and Kuwait City as of July 16, 2014. This happens to be the 25th anniversary of Emirates’ service to Kuwait.

The new A380 service will operate with the following schedule:

EK857 Dubai to Kuwait City departing 4:00PM arriving 4:45PM
EK858 Kuwait City to Dubai departing 6:25PM arriving 9:10PM

Interestingly they’re still maintaining their four other daily flights between the cities despite them upgrading this flight from a Boeing 777-200 to an Airbus A380.

What makes this route especially interesting is that it will be the world’s shortest A380 route, at just 529 miles. The flight is blocked at 1hr45min in each direction.

Emirates-Dubai-Kuwait

So why would Emirates put such a premium aircraft on a route with fairly little competition? After all, they’re switching from a cramped, regional 777 to their “flagship” A380. If they viewed this as a super-premium route previously, they would have at least offered their longhaul product on the route.


Emirates A380 first class

I suspect the answer is simple — because they can, and because it seems “cool” to start operating it there on the 25th anniversary of the service. This rotation only takes five hours, so there’s a good chance they’re doing this service during time the plane would otherwise spend on the ground. When you have the world’s largest A380 fleet, that’s not tough to do.

Similarly, they recently announced A380 service to Dallas, which seemed odd, but probably had a similar reason — so they could send a message to Etihad and Qatar about who’s the boss.

The world’s other shortest A380 routes include the following:

The real question is how they decide who gets to shower when the first class cabin is full? 😉


Emirates A380 first class shower spa

Comments

  1. I’ve actually flown MH from KUL to HKG on the A380 as well. I think they may have just stopped using the A380 on the route, but this would qualify as a short route.

    Also, @Lucky, I think you mean the EK route from JED to DXB; not to HKG (that’s not a short route).

  2. With 90 A380s ordered, EK is pretty much the king of A380s and can pretty much do what it wants. That’s cool they’re using the 3-cabin EK A380 for this route. I recall reading someplace that EK was planning to configure some of its new A380s in a 2-class configuration sans showers and fly them to high density/low yield routes starting the next year or two.

  3. Hmmm…maybe they’ll have to allow more than the “maximum capacity two persons” in the shower to ensure everyone gets a turn? Perish the thought. 😉

  4. It’s not about ultra-premium… it’s about how many economy seats you can fit on a plane… Do you guys really think that premium cabin is the main driver of an airline’s strategy and financial performance…?!?!

  5. I flew Dxb to Kwi regularly with Ek, and I can confirm, its not about cool. In my past 20 or so flights ‘ especially the 6:30pm flight, the 777 are packed to the brim.

    The real issue however, the mad que for visa in arrivals and , at the gate when departing.

    Simply put, Kwi airport is NOT equipped for the A380 traffic.

    I will likely avoid this flight, though on the plus side, chances for upgrades will be higher.

  6. I think later this summer, Asiana will run the shortest A380 route for a couple months: Seoul-Osaka. Should be pretty cool to check out their new plane.

  7. Hi Lucky,

    It may also be a consequence of the upcoming renovation work at DXB this summer, since: (a) Emirates will want to maximize revenue (i.e. increased plane capacity) at whatever route they do not have to cut back frequency to make up for the revenue losses of other routes, (b) they will have potentially idle planes to shuffle around, and (c) they need to maintain their foothold on these ME routes to avoid other Gulf carriers increasing their market share while they are operationally handicapped.

  8. A few years back I flew LHR->CDG on an AF 380. Guessing this was only a temporary service but i’m pretty sure boarding the plane took longer than the actual flight.

  9. @ Nick – based on a recent article in Airchive (3/20/2014), it seems that at least two other airlines want to bring more A380s to Houston, but the issue is space (or lack thereof) – Terminal D can only accommodate 7 wide-bodies or 5 wide-bodies + 1 A380. Which is why they are planning a major expansion and renovation.

  10. In addition to many of the reasons mentioned above, this could also be EK trying to make sure KU, who are slowly trying to “refresh” themselves, don’t get to go very far with it! Granted EK is an established giant on the world stage and in the current situation KU’s product is nowhere near as good as EK’s, but competition is competition! If EK could start with a leased A310 and in a decade become a leader…

  11. Just checked on AS, no F class award seats available for the A380 segment. So looks like there would be no showers.

  12. @ AS — Not sure when you’re looking at, but I see plenty of dates with first class award seats. Keep in mind you can’t redeem Alaska miles exclusively for that segment, it has to be as part of an award to/from North America.

  13. Meanwhile Emirates downgraded the Dallas to Dubai route to a 777-300ER. We have Qatar, Etihad, Emirates from Dallas and they all use 777-300ERs. Matter of fact the Qatar 777-300ER was the most comfortable flight I had out of those carriers. The only reason for me to consider Emirates was the A380. If the Emirates doesn’t offer A380 then that’s it for me flying with Emirates. I think they are making a big mistake taking off the A380 from the Dallas as Dallas is one of the fastest growing cities in the US.

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