The Persian Gulf carrier launched daily nonstop service from DFW to Dubai in 2012 and has seen load factors over 90 percent on its flights. The airline currently operates the 16-hour flight with a Boeing 777-200LR that has 266 seats. Emirates is the largest operator of A380 aircraft in the world, with 47 in its fleet and 97 on order from Airbus.
“The arrival of the A380 is a testament to the strength of the travel market here at Dallas/Fort Worth and the growing stature of DFW International Airport as a pre-eminent global hub,” said airport chief executive Sean Donohue in a statement.
Depending on how its seats are configured, Emirates’ A380 can carry between 489 and 517 passengers. The carrier recently received its 46th and 47th A380 from Airbus and last week announced it would use an A380 on its routes to London-Gatwick.
Emirates said it will use the 489-seat A380 on its DFW-Dubai route which adds an additional 220 seats daily, or 83 percent more capacity, compared to the Boeing 777-200 Emirates currently uses on the route.
“With the A380, we are not only bringing our flagship product to serve our leisure and business customers, but also demonstrating our commitment and confidence in the economic and tourism potential of the region,” said Emirates senior vice president Hubert Frach in a statement.
Emirates’ A380 also features 14 private suites and shower spas in first class, 76 flat-bed seats in business class and extra legroom and custom lighting in economy class which has 399 seats, the carrier says on its website.
The 16-hour flight departs DFW at 12:35 p.m. each day and arrives in Dubai at 12:20 p.m. the next day. The return flight leaves Dubai at 2:45 a.m. and arrives at DFW at 9:45 a.m. on the same day.
Jim Baxter, an Emirates vice president, told Fort Worth business leaders last year that the DFW-Dubai route had "exceeded expectations" with the daily flight often close to full and profitable for the carrier shortly after it started.
Last month, the airport board approved a $2.8 million contract to modify jet bridges at Terminal D to accommodate the huge double-decker aircraft. Airport staff it anticipated needing the modified jet bridges by October 1 but declined to comment at the time on which airline was mkaing the request.
In September, a Lufthansa A380 landed at DFW after it was diverted from its original destination of Houston because of severe weather. Another Lufthansa A380 was diverted to DFW in December, also because of weather.