With the arrival of a 615-seater superjumbo service for the first time, Emirates is set to boost flights to Hong Kong.
According to aviation data tracking service Airline Route, from October 1, the Dubai carrier will commence regular service with the aircraft on its Dubai-Bangkok-Hong Kong service — flights EK384/385. in response to the high demand for travel during the holiday period, it would also deploy the aircraft to the city over the Lunar New Year, the airline told the Post.
The existing service will be dwarfed by the 615-seater double-decker aircraft which was earlier operated with a 517-seater aircraft which will be replaced. Some business class seats on the service will be removed and replaced with additional economy class seats instead while first class will be axed entirely.
Newer aircraft that have installed more economy class seats in that space would remove and replace first class seats on the existing flight.
Cheaper airfare opportunities for travellers to Bangkok and Dubai would be the result of the addition of more seats. Rival airlines in Asia, Europe, and the United States have been angered and frustrated by Emirates’s low fares strategy.
Including one operated via Bangkok, three of which are served by the largest aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380, the airline currently operates four daily flights between Dubai and Hong Kong.
The upgrade of the Emirates flight to 615 seats was ideal for cost-conscious Hongkongers, Will Horton, a Hong Kong-based aviation analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation, said.
“The routing through Hong Kong and Bangkok brings the aircraft back to Dubai in time for European connections. So hub efficiency is maintained,” Horton said. “Emirates grows Bangkok capacity at key hours and can offer a lower-cost option for the Hong Kong market compared to the non-stop to Dubai, and also make a play in picking up local Hong Kong-Bangkok traffic.”
As the number of take-off and landing slots have become increasingly scarce as the two runways reach full capacity, airlines have sought ways to grow at Hong Kong International Airport in recent years.
In response to the challenges, adding up to 14 seats compared to its existing aircraft, budget carrier HK Express took delivery of the world’s first 188-seat single-aisle Airbus A320neo aircraft (neo stands for new engine option).
Adding to the airport’s global footprint, home carrier Cathay Pacific announced it intended to launch a new summer seasonal service to Barcelona, Spain from July, adding more good news for the Airport Authority.
“Barcelona isn’t important for the sake of Barcelona but rather launching it seasonally shows Cathay is willing to break away from regimented consistency,” Horton said. “What you fly in July you don’t have to fly in February. It’s a positive sign about becoming more agile.”
It will fly four times a week deploying its next-generation Airbus A350 aircraft, Cathay, Hong Kong’s largest carrier, said. During the peak of the summer travel season, the service is expected to run until October. The airline currently flies four times a week to the Spanish capital Madrid.
(Adapted from CNBC)