Emirates to relaunch A380 Christchurch-Dubai route on March 26

Emirates has announced it will restart flights between Christchurch and Dubai via Sydney using Airbus A380 aircraft on March 26, 2023.

The route was planned to be restarted in December and would have marked the airline's introduction of its A380 premium economy class in Aotearoa, but was delayed in August due to "ongoing operational constraints and resourcing pressures".

After March 26, travellers flying out of Christchurch will board flight EK413 and depart at 6:20pm before arriving at Sydney at 7:40pm, then depart from there at 9:45pm and touch down in Dubai at 5:15am.

The reverse flight, EK412, departs Dubai at 10:15am, arrives at Sydney at 7am, departs there at 8:45am and arrives at Christchurch at 1:50pm. 

"The restoration of our Christchurch service comes ahead of Emirates' 20th anniversary in New Zealand, and we're very proud to be connecting travellers, tourists, and businesses from around the world to the South Island's get gateway," said Chris Lethbridge, the airline's regional manager in New Zealand.

"I still fondly remember the lines of people waiting to see our first A380 arrive in Christchurch in October 2016, so it's incredibly exciting to see the iconic aircraft's return. The A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the world, which will again touch down in the smallest city in our A380 network from March 26." 

Although other companies including Singapore Airlines used A380s on New Zealand flights prior to COVID-19, the Christchurch route will be just the second since the pandemic along with Emirates' daily Auckland-Dubai direct service, which relaunched in December.

The first Emirates A380 landing in Christchurch on October 31, 2016.
The first Emirates A380 landing in Christchurch on October 31, 2016. Photo credit: supplied/Emirates

Emirates first brought an A380 to Christchurch in October of 2016, with more than 1000 spectators turning up to watch its arrival.

"Like Chris, I well recall the first day the Emirates A380 landed here. It was thrilling and from that day on, people regularly came here to see it and photograph it," said Justin Watson, Chief Executive of Christchurch Airport.

"When that spectacular aircraft is on our tarmac, it's another visual reminder to South Islanders that they and our great export products can connect with many international hubs through this airport. During the A380's recent absence, we have had regular inquiries about when people can book to fly on it again, so I won't be surprised to have people here to welcome it back on March 26."