Sunday, October 17, 2021

Emirates Operates The First Passenger Airbus A380 Service To Istanbul

On Friday, Dubai-based carrier Emirates became the first airline to operate passenger services to Istanbul using the giant Airbus A380. The airline was beaten to being the first-ever A380 operator at the airport by wet lease charter specialist Hi Fly, who flew its sole A380 into the airport on a cargo mission last year.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Istanbul
Emirates has operated its first Airbus A380 service to Istanbul. Photo: Emirates

Emirates is gradually building out its Airbus A380 service as it shows the world that there is a place for the Airbus A380. Over the next two months, the airline is actually planning to add 11 Airbus A380 destinations to its network. One of these is Istanbul.

Welcome to Istanbul

Emirates operates two daily flights to Istanbul, accompanied by a third service that runs on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. These had always been performed by the airline’s Boeing 777 fleet. However, on Friday, October 1st, something a little heavier touched down in the Turkish capital city.

Emirates flight EK123 departed Dubai slightly late at 11:08. According to data from, the aircraft had been due to leave its home at 10:45. The jet then climbed to an altitude of 40,000 feet. Despite its late departure, flight 123 made up for its delay in the flight, landing in Istanbul at 14:32. It had been scheduled to arrive three minutes later.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Istanbul
Despite a delayed arrival, EK123 arrived in Istanbul three minutes early. Photo:

The lucky aircraft that operated the first A380 flight to Istanbul was A6-EUC. According to, it is 5.61 years old, having first flown on February 26th, 2016. Since delivery in September of that year, the aircraft has clocked 15,923 flight hours until June 30th, 2021. With 2,548 flight cycles, the aircraft is currently valued at $61.31 million.

An important route

The route between Dubai and Istanbul is an important one. Emirates’ partner airline, flydubai, also operates flights alongside Turkish Airlines. Emirates took its first flight on October 25th, 1985. Istanbul was one of the early routes operated by the airline, with the first flight to the city operating on July 31st, 1987

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Since then, Emirates has carried over six million passengers between the two cities on over 23,000 flights. Of course, even the Boeing 777 wouldn’t have operated those early flights to the Turkish capital. Now the city will be served by daily Airbus A380 flights, alongside ten Boeing 777 flights each week.

Emirates, Airbus A380, Premium Economy
Emirates also flies the Boeing 777 to Istanbul. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Commenting on the first Airbus A380 flight to Istanbul, Emirates’ Senior Vice President for Commerical Operations in the Gulf Middle East and Central Asia, Adil Al Ghaith, said,

“Emirates has been keen to bring the A380 to this fantastic new Istanbul Airport ever since it opened. We are delighted to finally see our flagship in this beautiful city as joins many other top destinations we currently serve with the A380… Bringing the A380 service to Turkey is a major milestone for Emirates.”

What do you make of Emirates’ first Airbus A380 flight to Istanbul? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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