Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is to open Airbus A380 services to Saudi Arabia, with operations to Jeddah early next year.

The Dubai-based airline will deploy the aircraft on the route to the pilgrimage gateway city from 1 February. It has a daily service to Jeddah but will operate the A380 four times per week.

Emirates will operate the 517-seat version of the aircraft to Jeddah. The jet will have 14 first-class, 76 business-class and 427 economy-class seats.

"Adding an A380 onto this perpetually busy route will significantly increase our capacity," says Emirates senior vice-president for Gulf commercial operations Ahmed Khoory.

Emirates will have seven A380s in its fleet by the end of this year, and its network of A380 routes will cover Sydney, Auckland, London Heathrow, Bangkok, Toronto, Seoul and Paris.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news