Emirates marks 20 years of New Zealand services

Four Emirates A380s parked in Auckland New Zealand
Photo Credit: Emirates

Today marks 20 years of Emirates flying to New Zealand, as the airline celebrates amid its strongest presence in the market to date.

After two decades of impeccable service, unparalleled connectivity, and unwavering commitment Emirates Airlines boasts a strong foothold in the NZ market and an impressive array of achievements.

Inaugural Flight and Early Ventures

On 2nd August 2003, Emirates took its first stride into the New Zealand market with two inaugural flights. A Boeing 777-300ER embarked on its journey from Sydney, while an A330 from Melbourne carried the airline’s Chairman and Chief Executive, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

This marked the beginning of a relationship that would span two decades and evolve into something truly extraordinary.

First touchdown: 2 August 2003.

Over the course of these twenty years, Emirates has proudly served over 16 million passengers on approximately 49,000 flights between Dubai and New Zealand’s cities of Auckland and Christchurch.

This monumental achievement reflects not only the airline’s dedication but also the strong bond it has cultivated with the passengers it has had the privilege to serve.


Auckland and Christchurch

Presently, Emirates operates 14 weekly flights to New Zealand, offering direct services to Auckland as well as connecting flights to Christchurch via Sydney.

These routes provide passengers with the unique opportunity to experience the iconic A380 aircraft on Trans-Tasman flights – a testament to Emirates’ commitment to enhancing travel experiences.

The Longest and the Smallest

Emirates’ Dubai to Auckland route holds the distinction of being the longest in its network, spanning an impressive 14,000 kilometers.

On the other end of the spectrum, Christchurch, served by the flagship A380, remains the smallest city on the Emirates network to experience this level of luxury and comfort.

The Four-Class A380

In March 2023, New Zealand made history as the first country to exclusively operate Emirates’ new four-class A380 on all its services.

This feat was made possible by Emirates’ ambitious aircraft retrofit program – a groundbreaking initiative that has not only redefined in-flight experiences but also demonstrated the airline’s commitment to innovation on a grand scale.

A Lifeline During Crisis

Emirates’ contributions to New Zealand’s economy have transcended passenger services. The airline’s cargo division, Emirates SkyCargo, played a vital role during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While other airlines suspended services, Emirates continued to bridge the gap by transporting essential medical equipment and vaccines, ensuring the country’s resilience and well-being.

A Tribute to Two Decades

As Emirates celebrates this key anniversary, Barry Brown, Divisional Vice President for Australasia at Emirates, acknowledges the enduring significance of the New Zealand market.

He emphasizes that this milestone is a testament to the airline’s unwavering dedication and the pivotal role it plays in connecting the country with the rest of the world.

The allure of the Emirates A380 experience continues to captivate travelers. With spacious cabins and an award-winning entertainment system boasting over 6,500 channels, passengers traveling to New Zealand are treated to an unforgettable journey that transcends mere transportation.

Looking Forward

Emirates not only connects the two nations through flights but also through its in-flight cuisine. The airline’s commitment to sourcing and serving local New Zealand ingredients and wines onboard is a testament to its dedication to providing an authentic experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

Emirates’ journey to New Zealand is a saga of excellence, innovation, and unwavering commitment. From the inaugural flights to the exclusive operation of the four-class A380, this journey has exemplified the airline’s core values.

As the skies open up to a world recovering from the pandemic, Emirates says that it looks ahead to many more years of connecting hearts and bridging distances.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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