Emirates’ flagship A380 landed at Christchurch Airport today, resuming daily service from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney after a three-year hiatus.
The special flight was met by a gathering of onlookers at the Christchurch Airport boundary, who watched as the iconic aircraft taxied past a ceremonial water cannon salute before arriving in front of trade, media, and VIP visitors inside the international terminal.
Outbound EK412 departed Dubai at 10:15 a.m. local time, stopping in Sydney before landing in Christchurch at 13:55 a.m. the following day, New Zealand time.
On board the first flight back to Christchurch, Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia, Emirates, said: “Seeing the water cannon salute after we touched down in the first Emirates A380 flight in more than three years is a reminder of how special the aircraft is to Christchurch, since its first arrival in 2016. The occasion’s significance was also clear on the faces of the other passengers on board, who understood what this service means for Christchurch and connecting it to the world.”
“Not only has Christchurch again become the smallest city on Emirates’ A380 network, but New Zealand is now the first country on our network to carry our four-cabin A380 and our best product yet exclusively. The phenomenal customer response from the moment tickets went on sale, both in and out of Christchurch, speak to a city in high demand.”
Phil Mauger, Christchurch Mayor, said:”The return of the Emirates A380 service is a great boost for Christchurch and the wider South Island. It shows we’re open for business and welcoming travellers after several years of Covid restrictions. I wish the passengers and crew a warm welcome and hope the resumed service is a real success for Emirates.”
Justin Watson, Chief Executive of Christchurch Airport, said:”The return of the Emirates A380 aircraft is a significant moment for Christchurch and the South Island. Resuming the daily service offers South Islanders access from Christchurch Airport to dozens of the world’s most famous cities in the famous Emirates style. After the A380’s inaugural arrival in October 2016, people visited the airport daily to admire and photograph the aircraft. The global pandemic paused the service, but today, we welcome the aircraft back, knowing many excited Cantabrians arehere to remind the crew and passengers how warm the South Island welcome is.”
The Dubai to Christchurch route resumption is part of a planned increase in seating capacity throughout Emirates’ worldwide network, which has increased operations by 31% (total ASKMs) since the start of the fiscal year. This operational boost included reintroducing Emirates’ nonstop A380 service from Auckland to Dubai in December last year.
The return of Emirates’ A380 to Christchurch is also wonderful news for South Island businesses. SkyCargo once again allows shipping 15 to 18 tonnes of everyday commodities across the Tasman. The airfreight will deliver much-needed airfreight from various exporters, including Central Otago cherries, prime New Zealand lamb, and premium seafood, as they continue to destinations worldwide.
Customers on both the North and South Islands will now have direct access to daily Emirates A380 services, providing greater flexibility and choice when making travel plans, as well as seamless connectivity and reduced transit time when travelling to other destinations on the airline’s global network, including destinations in Europe and the Middle East. Passengers wishing to explore beyond the airline’s gateways will have extra connecting options to 55 locations across Australia and New Zealand thanks to Emirates’ long-standing partnership with Qantas.
Emirates has been flying to New Zealand for 20 years, a sign of its ongoing commitment to the market. Emirates continued to serve the country throughout the pandemic, connecting New Zealand and the world with daily flights and its SkyCargo services, bringing essential goods in and out of the nation.