Emirates Resumes London Stansted Boeing 777 Flights After 28-Month Suspension

Emirates is again serving London Stansted on a passenger basis. Having last operated on March 24th, 2020, the first flight since the pandemic took off on August 1st.

While the route was originally to be 5x weekly at first, rising to 1x daily from September, it is already 1x daily, probably reflecting the ongoing problems at London Heathrow. After all, Emirates has temporarily added a third-daily flight to London Gatwick, a frequency it had for years pre-pandemic.

What’s happening?

On August 1st, Emirates left Dubai bound for London Stansted, marking the route’s resumption. When writing, Flightradar24 shows that it has just landed in Stansted after some 7h 3m. Today’s flight was operated by A6-EQL, a three-class, 4.2- year-old B777-300ER. It has 354 seats: six in first class, 42 in business, and 306 in economy.

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Unconfirmed reports suggest that today’s inbound had 313 seats occupied (a seat load factor of 88%), while the outbound is full. The schedule is below, with all times local:

  • Dubai to London Stansted: EK65, 08:50-13:30 (block time of 7h 40m)
  • London Stansted to Dubai: EK68, 21:10-07:10+1 (7h)

Notice the unusually long turnaround in the UK. The 08:50 departure from Dubai means it leaves the UAE in Emirates’ leading Europe-bound bank and is fed by vast numbers of flights from across Asia-Pacific and Africa. it doesn’t leave Stansted around 15:00, arriving back at 01:00, to feed the carrier’s largest number of eastbound flights. Instead, it flies overnight, feeding Emirates’ second-largest bank of departures, with EK68 the previous flight number of Emirates’ second-daily Stansted-Dubai flight.

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Emirates to Stansted: a summary

Emirates began Stansted in June 2018, supplementing well-established flights to Heathrow and Gatwick. While initially 1x daily (EK65/EK66), a second-daily service soon after, in July 2019 (EK67/EK68).

In 2019, Emirates carried 317,846 Stansted passengers, according to the UK CAA. As OAG shows, it had 376,062 seats for sale and achieved a seat load factor of 84.5%. Given the newness of the route and that flights doubled in July, meaning a huge amount of additional capacity had to be sold, that was a good result.

But how was it achieved? Booking data suggests that its Stansted-Dubai point-to-point (P2P) fare was approximately a quarter lower than Gatwick and 59% lower than Heathrow. (Proportionally, it had far more P2P passengers than Gatwick and about the same as Heathrow.) Moreover, its transit fare over Dubai was 16% lower than from Gatwick and 40% lower than from Heathrow. Any route takes time to develop, let alone long-haul, so this isn’t surprising.

Where did passengers go?

An estimated 45% of Emirates’ Stansted passengers were P2P, while 55% transited Dubai. According to booking data, India was the leading country market, followed by Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and South Africa. Perhaps surprisingly, Stansted to Kuala Lumpur was the top airport pair, followed by Bangkok, Mumbai, Brisbane, and Colombo.

Emirates’ top five connecting markets over Dubai in 2019. Image: GCMap.

10x daily to London

On August 1st, Emirates has 10x daily London flights, summarized below based on flights to the UK. Note that it’ll reduce to 9x daily from August 4th, with the temporary EK11 no longer running. London will return to 10x daily from March 1st when the third Gatwick service returns.

  1. 02:30: EK7 to Heathrow, arriving at 07:05; A380
  2. 02:30: EK11 to Gatwick, arriving at 07:05; B777-300ER
  3. 07:45: EK1 to Heathrow, arriving at 12:25; A380
  4. 08:00: EK15 to Gatwick, arriving at 12:30; A380
  5. 08:50: EK65 to Stansted, arriving at 13:30; B777-300ER
  6. 09:40: EK29 to Heathrow, arriving at 14:25; A380
  7. 11:25: EK31 to Heathrow, arriving at 16:10; A380
  8. 14:15: EK3 to Heathrow, arriving at 18:40; A380
  9. 14:55: EK9 to Gatwick, arriving at 19:45; A380
  10. 15:45EK5 to Heathrow, arriving at 20:15; A380

What do you make of Stansted resuming?

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