Emirates’ flagship A380 made a landmark touchdown at New Zealand’s Christchurch Airport earlier today. The arrival of the wide-body aircraft marked the resumption of daily services from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney after more than three years.
The special service was greeted by a crowd of spectators at the Christchurch Airport boundary, who watched as the iconic aircraft taxied through a ceremonial water canon salute. The Emirates flight then parked in view of trade, media, and VIP guests at the international terminal.
Flight EK412 had left Dubai at 10:15 local time, stopping briefly in Sydney before arriving in Christchurch at 13:55 hours the next day, New Zealand time.
On board the first flight back to Christchurch was Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President Australasia, Emirates who observed:
“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 significance of the occasion 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.”
Mr Brown went on to point out that Christchurch New Zealand South Island was in fact the smallest city served by the Emirates A380 network. Despite that fact, demand for the service has been high.
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 I hope the resumed service is a real success for Emirates.”
Justin Watson Chief Executive of Christchurch Airport commented on behalf of the facility saying:“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 came to the airport every day to admire and photograph the aircraft.”
Emirates increased international capacity
The resumption of the Dubai to Christchurch route headlines a planned ramping up of seating capacity across Emirates’ global network, after boosting operations 31% (total ASKMs) since the beginning of its financial year.
This operational boost included the re-introduction of Emirates’ nonstop A380 route from Auckland to Dubai in December of last year.
Emirates’ A380 return to Christchurch is also welcome news for South Island producers, with SkyCargo again supporting the export of 15 to 18 tonnes of daily goods across the Tasman.
The service will provide much needed airfreight from a broad range of exporters, including Central Otago cherries, prime New Zealand lamb, and premium seafood, as they continue on to destinations around the world.
The resumption of Christchurch services effectively means that both North and South Island customers will now have direct access to daily Emirates A380 services, providing greater levels of flexibility and choice when making travel plans.
The airline’s connectivity means access to a wider network, including destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
Travellers looking to venture beyond the airline’s gateways will also have more connection opportunities to 55 cities across Australia and New Zealand through Emirates’ long-standing partnership with Qantas.