Emirates will fly an Airbus A380 on its flights between Dubai and both Houston Intercontinental and San Francisco International airports from December.
The 489-seat aircraft will replace a Boeing 777-300ER on the San Francisco route from 1 December and on the Houston route from 3 December, according to the airline.
The new aircraft represents a 38% increase in seat capacity on the two routes, says Emirates.
“Emirates continues to see strong customer demand from our US gateways,” says Hubert Frach, divisional senior vice-president for commercial operations west at Emirates, in a statement. “Since 2007, we have carried over 2.3 million passengers on the San Francisco and Houston routes, and our flagship A380 will allow us to connect even more people and facilitate trade between these important US cities and the Middle East, India, Africa and beyond.”
Mario Diaz, director of the Houston Airport System that operates Intercontinental airport, said in May that they were in talks with an airline about upgauging an existing flight to an A380. He expressed concerns about the availability of the airport’s one A380-capable gate, which is occupied from 13:45 to 15:50 local time by Lufthansa.
Emirates’ A380-operated flight will arrive at 16:05 local time and depart the next day at 09:30 local time, according to the airline.
Houston is beginning the process of developing a new international terminal at Intercontinental that could handle multiple flights on the superjumbo aircraft at a time. However, the facility is not expected to open until at least the 2020s.
Emirates operates A380s on flights from Dubai to Los Angeles and New York JFK, and will place the aircraft on flights to Dallas/Fort Worth from 1 October.