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Emirates to expand mainland China operations, resumes passenger services to Shanghai and Beijing

Emirates will ramp up its operations in China ahead of the New Lunar Year in response to strong travel demand, boosting connectivity to its gateways Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing as the country reopens its borders and eases its Covid-related entry restrictions.

Shanghai: service resumption from 20 January 2023 with twice weekly service, gradually increasing to daily service from 1 March

Emirates will resume passenger services to Shanghai starting with two weekly flights operated by an Airbus A380 aircraft from 20 January 2023, with EK302 departing from Dubai to Shanghai non-stop and EK303 making a short stop in Bangkok before returning to Dubai. This service will ramp up in frequency to four weekly flights operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from 02 February 2023.

Emirates will further boost its Dubai-Shanghai route from 1 March 2023 with a daily non-stop service.

Guangzhou: daily nonstop from 1 February 2023

Emirates currently operates a non-stop flight from Dubai to Guangzhou as EK362, and a return flight from Guangzhou to Dubai via Bangkok as EK363, four times a week.

Starting from 1 February 2023, the airline will increase services between Dubai and Guangzhou with EK362/EK363 operating as daily non-stop flights with the flagship Emirates A380.

Beijing: service resumption from 15 March 2023

Operated by a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, Emirates’ flight EK308/ EK307 will return to China’s capital city Beijing with a daily non-stop service from Dubai, starting from 15 March 2023.

This will bring the airline’s operations in the market up to 21 weekly flights, providing increased choice and flexibility for business travellers.

Emirates has been serving China for nearly two decades and has established its presence in the Chinese market through strategic partnerships and a continued commitment to the local community throughout the pandemic.

Emirates offers travellers increased connectivity to 24 domestic points via Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai,  as well as six regional points via Guangzhou through its partnership with China Southern Airline, while simultaneously providing its partner-airline’s customers access to six destinations within the Middle East and Africa regions.

Travellers can also benefit from Emirates’ existing interline agreements with Air China, China Eastern and Cathay Pacific to access even more domestic Chinese cities.

The Emirates A380 experience remains highly sought after by travellers offering fourteen First Class suites, 76 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 426 ergonomically designed seats in Economy Class.

The airline states that “customers travelling to and from Guangzhou can look forward to enjoying its spacious and comfortable cabins, signature products that offer travellers the best experiences in the sky like the Onboard Lounge, First Class suites and Shower Spa. Customers travelling to and from Shanghai and Beijing can benefit from Emirates’ award-winning service and industry-leading products on board the airline’s three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which offers eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class”.

The first retrofitted Emirates A380 enters service

The first Emirates A380 to be completely refurbished under the airline’s $2 billion retrofit programme has been deployed today on the Dubai-London Heathrow service, operating as EK003.

Below, you can see a timelapse video of the retrofit work done on A6-EVM, the first of 120 Emirates aircraft to have completed its refurbishment.

Emirates A380 retrofit

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said:

Customers will notice the difference the moment they step onboard – the spacious A380 will look and feel even more impressive and comfortable.

With our latest interiors and products, this newly refurbished aircraft elevates our inflight experience in all classes of travel, and enables us to offer more Premium Economy seats to meet customer demand.

I’m particularly proud that this refurbishment work was designed, conducted and completed inhouse at our facilities in Dubai, to the highest standards of quality and safety. It reflects the world-class aviation capabilities and infrastructure that exists within Emirates, and here in the UAE.

Refreshed: Emirates A380 shower spa includes a hand-stencilled Prosopis cineraria – the ghaf tree – motif

The fully refreshed A380 features Emirates’ latest products and interiors across all cabins, including 56 Premium Economy class seats on the main deck, and new colour palettes evident in the carpeting and wall panels.

Comfort: Emirates A380 has a new, lighter colour palette and beautifully-refurbished, leather-clad seating

On the upper deck, First and Business Class seats sport Emirates’ latest cream-coloured leather upholstery and lighter-toned wood finishing, similar to the airline’s.

Emirates’ signature ghaf tree motif also features prominently throughout the interiors, including hand-stencilled panels in the First Class Shower Spa.

Onboard Lounge: “sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re on a plane”

The next Emirates A380 aircraft lined up for its make-over is A6-EUW, and work is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

As the program progresses, engineers will work simultaneously on two aircraft. This means that one aircraft in the fleet will be withdrawn from service every eight days and transferred to Emirates Engineering facilities. By 2024, all 67 A380s assigned for refurbishment will have returned to service. Emirates will then begin work on its 53 Boeing 777s earmarked for this project. The airline expects to complete the programme in 2025.

To deliver the largest known aircraft refurbishment program in aviation history, Emirates recruited 190 new project personnel, and is working with 48 major partners and suppliers who have also hired hundreds of skilled workers.

Teams of engineers and technicians have worked round the clock, taking apart the entire interior of the A380 and refitting the parts again in a carefully planned and tested sequence. 

FIFA World Cup matches to be shown live on Emirates flights

Passengers on Emirates flights won’t miss a kick during the FIFA World Cup, thanks to the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system ice, which will be livestreaming every game from the tournament.

Passengers will be able to view the World Cup matches live on Sport 24, as well as in the A380 onboard lounges and across dedicated Emirates airport lounges.

Emirates passengers in all classes can browse the world class entertainment library.

More than 200 Emirates aircraft are equipped with live TV, featuring dedicated sports channels – Sport 24 and Sport 24 Extra.

From Sunday, 20 November, Emirates passengers will be able to watch all FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on Sport 24 via ice, including the World Cup Final on 18 December.

Sports 24 also shows live matches from the FA Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and the Asian Football Championship. Sport 24 also airs top international sporting events including the Women’s Rugby World Cup, International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup, the Olympic Games, National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), major golf championships, tennis grand slams, plus sailing, horse-racing, and motorsports.

Passengers can view full match schedules in advance and plan their viewing on https://www.emirates.com.

Emirates invests more than $2bn on ‘customer experience’

Emirates is investing more than $2billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit more than 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins, starting in 2022.

The President of Emirates Airlines, Sir Tim Clark, said,

Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.

Emirates’ latest initiatives include:

  • elevated meal choices,
  • a brand new vegan menu,
  • a ‘cinema in the sky’ experience,
  • cabin interior upgrades,
  • ‘sustainable choices’, and
  • a generous approach to ‘the little touches that make travel memorable’

New Inspirations, New Menus

An award-winning team of chefs, a world-class catering team and a wide variety of suppliers have been assembled to design and deliver ‘the best fine dining experience in the sky’.

New menus will be served on select Emirates routes in First Class, featuring dishes such as pan-fried salmon trout with moqueca sauce and creole rice, roasted duck breast with orange thyme jus, steamed broccolini and fondant potatoes.

New menus will also be introduced to Business and Economy on 1 September.

Refreshed First Class menus

Purposefully Vegan Choices: 

Emirates’ new vegan menu is ‘carefully curated to cater to the growing numbers of customers pursuing this thoughtful lifestyle’.

Vegans, or anyone interested in a delicious and healthy plant-based meal, will enjoy handcrafted gourmet dishes such as pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, flavoursome jackfruit biryani and sliced kohlrabi garnished with burnt orange.

Desserts are a decadent affair with choices of chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio and gold leaf, or green grape tart adorned with candied rose petals, vanilla custard, and berry compote glistening with yuzu pearls.

First Class vegan menus

The Champagne and Caviar Experience

Emirates’ First Class experience has been upped a notch in 2022. Customers can now savour unlimited portions of Persian caviar as part of the ‘dine on demand’ service, with an exquisite pairing of the world-renowned Dom Perignon vintage champagne.

Champagne and caviar: Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer Dom Perignon on-board.

Cinema in the Sky

First Class customers can create a memorable movie moment on-board by ordering cinema snacks as they enjoy the 5,000 channels on Emirates’ ice inflight entertainment system.

The cinema snack menu includes moreish classics such as lobster rolls, juicy sliders, edamame, and salted popcorn, and can be ordered on demand.

All passengers can also curate their own ice experience before their flight, simply by browsing and pre-selecting movies or TV shows on the Emirates app, which can then be synced to ice the moment they board, maximising the seamless travel experience.

A Flight at the Movies: Emirates cinema snacks

Farm to Fork – Sustainable Supply Chain

Emirates’ customers departing on flights from Dubai can begin crunching on fresh greens harvested from Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm and newly-opened $40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering.

Emirates is continuing to invest in sustainable operations and supply chains, seeking local food suppliers and farms wherever possible to serve the freshest produce on board.

Greens: multi-tier growing rack

Specialised Hospitality Training for Cabin Crew

Emirates has partnered with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, one of the world’s top hospitality management schools, to craft the Emirates Hospitality strategy and encourage inspiring customer experiences.

Emirates Cabin Crew have already begun engaging in intensive training programmes focused on delivering the four service pillars: Excellence, Attentiveness, Innovation and Passion.

Top hospitality: Excellence, Attentiveness, Innovation and Passion

Upgraded Cabin Interiors in all Classes

The most significant investment is an extensive and record-breaking refurbishment of the aircraft fleet interiors, where cabins will be retrofitted with new or reupholstered seats, new panelling, flooring and other cabin features.

Benefitting all Emirates passengers, every cabin class will be refreshed and new Premium Economy cabins installed.

After the retrofit, Emirates will have a total of 120 aircraft offering Premium Economy seats – the only airline in the region to offer this cabin class, and enhanced interiors and features across all other cabins. With its first aircraft scheduled to roll into the Emirates Engineering Centre for retrofitting in November, planning work and trials have begun in earnest.

Paul Baker, Global Travel Management Sales Director said,

Emirates are setting a benchmark for inflight customer experience. Their $2bn investment will be the envy of many other airlines and their passengers will be treated to flights that are a joy.

The recent improvements to the Emirates Premium Economy service are proof that the airline knows exactly how, where and when to apply its investments. Premium Economy on Emirates is exceptional.

I am looking forward to seeing the results of Emirates’ investments in all cabins across the fleet’s 120 aircraft.

I know GTM’s customers will appreciate the difference.

Premium Economy; Emirates developed an exceptional Premium Economy service, enjoyed by many GTM customers already

Emirates launches full Premium Economy experience

Emirates has unveiled its full Premium Economy offering onboard and on ground, and announced it will open this highly sought-after cabin for sale from 1 June 2022.

The new cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, will be available to customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney from 1 August, and Christchurch from December.

Emirates is the only airline in the region to offer a Premium Economy cabin.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said:

As with everything we do, Emirates Premium Economy will be exceptional in its class, with minute attention given to every aspect of the customer experience. Customers trading up from Economy will be getting excellent value.

Since we first introduced our Premium Economy seats in January 2021, the positive response and demand has been tremendous. We currently have six A380s equipped with this cabin class, which limits our initial deployment, but our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets across our network.

This November, we will begin our retrofit programme to install Premium Economy on 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. At the end of the programme, Emirates will have 126 aircraft fitted out with Premium Economy cabins, as well as our latest interiors across other cabins. It is a major investment to ensure our customers continue to have the best experience in the sky.

Dedicated airport experience: Customers can look forward to a dedicated check-in area for Premium Economy at Dubai International airport, or utilise one of the many convenient self-service check in kiosks in the hall to avoid queues.
Luxurious seats: Once onboard,customers will immediately notice the quiet luxury in Emirates’ Premium Economy cabin. A wood panel finishing similar to Business Class sets the cabin’s mood, and each seat is designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests.

The cream-coloured leather seats have a generous pitch of up to 40 inches, is 19.5 inches wide, and reclines 8 inches into a comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out. It also offers calf rests and footrests for additional comfort, in addition to many other thoughtful touches such as easily accessible in-seat charging points and a side cocktail table.

Comfort: Customers can get comfortable under soft, sustainable blankets made from recycled plastic bottles, and snuggle into the generously sized pillow, both designed uniquely for Premium Economy. They can also refresh themselves with the complimentary amenity kits which come in reusable, sustainable bags, and contain items which are all made with some element of recycled or sustainable materials.

Dining experience: Incorporating elements inspired by Business Class, customers will be welcomed onboard with a welcome drink in fine glassware. During meal service, a selection of generous meals made with seasonal ingredients and regional influences will be served on chinaware, accompanied by stainless steel cutlery wrapped in linen napkin. The drinks menu will include a selection of beverages including premium wines and a sparkling Chandon wine. There are also liqueurs available after meals, with chocolates.

On a four-class Emirates A380, the Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck with 56 seats laid out in 2-4-2 configuration.

On the Emirates Boeing 777, up to 24 Premium Economy seats will be installed in a dedicated cabin section between Business and Economy.

Emirates launches integrated biometric path at Dubai International Airport

Emirates has launched an “integrated biometric path” at Dubai International Airport, a contactless airport experience, now open to Emirates passengers travelling from and through Dubai.

The integrated biometric path gives passengers a seamless travel journey from specific check-in to boarding gates, improving customer flow through the airport with fewer document checks and less queuing.


Emirates has launched an integrated biometric path at Dubai International airport. The contactless airport experience provides convenience and reduces human interaction, putting emphasis on health and safety.

Utilising the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition – Emirates passengers can now check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

The various touchpoints in the biometric path allow for a hygienic contactless travel journey, reducing human interaction and putting emphasis on health and safety.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer said,

We have always focused on providing a great customer experience at any touchpoint and now it is more vital than before to make use of technology and implement products, and introduce processes that focuses not only on fast tracking customers, but more importantly on health and safety during their travel journey. The state-of-the-art, contactless biometric path is the latest in a series of initiatives we have introduced to make sure that travelling on Emirates is a seamless journey and gives customers added peace of mind.

The biometric touchpoints are currently installed at select First, Business and Economy Class check-in desks in Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport; immigration gates, including a “smart tunnel”; Emirates’ premium lounge entrance at concourse B; as well select boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment is installed are clearly marked and additional units will be installed at each touchpoint in the future.

The Smart Tunnel, a project by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) in collaboration with Emirates, is a world-first for passport control, where passengers simply walk through a tunnel and are “cleared” by immigration authorities without human intervention or the need for a physical passport stamp.


Utilising a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers can now check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

Emirates is also the first airline outside America to receive approval for biometric boarding from the U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP). Customers flying from Dubai to Emirates’ destinations in the U.S. will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates.

The biometric path is the latest in a host of initiatives by Emirates to provide a smart contactless journey. In the last month, the airline has introduced other services including self-check-in and bag drop kiosks at Dubai Airport “for a smoother airport experience”.

If you need to book flights on Emirates, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Airbus to stop production of the A380

Chief Executive Tom Enders has confirmed that Airbus will stop building the A380. 

Following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft. Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380  in 2021.

Emirates has decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft.

Enders said,

As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.  The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.

The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.

Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, said:

The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than ten years. As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family.  Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.

Airbus will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal opportunities.

Making business travel more rewarding.

Business travellers often tell me that one of the things they find most frustrating is being unable to redeem their frequent flyer miles.

Typically, someone taking long-haul flights on the best airline for their business trips, often finds it difficult to redeem an airline’s miles for their personal leisure travel/flights, often with that same airline.

Your regular business destination might not be a great location to take your family on vacation. Or you simply might want to go somewhere completely different when you travel for leisure.

So it’s great to find that some airlines have struck deals that allow you to accrue rewards on one and redeem them for flights on the other.

A great example of is Emirates and easyJet. Emirates Skywards members can use Skywards Miles to pay for their easyJet flights, inclusive of taxes, charges and airport fees, as well as for optional extras such as sports equipment.

For example, a business class return trip from London to Dubai on Emirates can earn you 11,400 Skywards Miles. Make that trip four times and you could earn more than 45,000 Skywards Miles.

With easyJet flying on over 600 routes to more than 30 countries, it’s simple to find a great leisure destinations to spend your Skywards Miles on. And with redemptions for easyJet flights starting from just 7,500 Skywards Miles for a one way trip, you could be arranging holiday flights very soon.

Talk to your GTM Account Manager next time you take an Emirates flight to check the Skywards Miles you can earn. You might find it very rewarding.

Emirates – Heathrow Airport Lounge Closure.

Please note that Emirates are closing their First & Business Class lounge at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 from Monday 8th June until 2nd October 2015.

Whilst Emirates refurbish and extend their current lounge facilities, their First & Business Class passengers will be able to use the British Airways Business Class lounge in T3.

BA To Move SIN & SYD Services To T5.

British Airways is to move its London Heathrow-Singapore-Sydney services to Terminal 5 from the end of March 2013.

The airline will also roster its new B777-300ER aircraft onto the route from this date. BA says the changes ”confirm British Airways’ commitment to Australia”, following the
news that Qantas will end its joint business agreement with BA and strike up a new partnership with Emirates.

BA’s Sydney flights currently depart from Terminal 3 using B747-400 aircraft, but will move to Terminal 5 from 31st March, from where the majority of the carrier’s flights
already operate. The airline’s new B777-300ER aircraft feature a four-class World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World and First layout.