Emirates delays New Zealand return of world’s largest passenger plane

The A380 was set to return to New Zealand skies on Emirates' Christchurch to Dubai services.

Emirates / Supplied

The A380 was set to return to New Zealand skies on Emirates’ Christchurch to Dubai services.

Kiwis will have to wait a little longer to see the world’s largest passenger plane back in our skies.

Emirates had previously announced it would be bringing its iconic A380 back to New Zealand in December, with the restart of services from Dubai to Christchurch via Sydney.

However, the airline has now deferred the restart of the route, with a spokesperson citing “ongoing operational constraints and resourcing pressures”.

“Christchurch is an important and strategic route, and we are keen to restart our services to the city as soon as it is operationally feasible,” the spokesperson said.

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Customers who had booked flights to or from Christchurch were being offered alternative arrangements. This included flying to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane with Qantas before continuing on to Dubai with Emirates, or flying to Auckland with Jetstar (a subsidiary of Qantas), before continuing on to Dubai with Emirates.

Affected customers could also request a refund.

The Christchurch flights were also set to see the New Zealand launch of Emirates’ new premium economy cabins. These seats had become available to book in June.

The spokesperson said they hoped to be able to bring the product to market “as soon as conditions allow us to do so”.

Emirates currently operates a daily service from Auckland to Dubai via Kuala Lumpur, using the Boeing 777.

Before the pandemic, it was a non-stop service, and one of the longest in the world, clocking in at just over 17 hours. The route was also operated by the A380.

Emirates has previously said the non-stop service will relaunch in December, with plans to upgrade it to an A380 when possible. The airline has been approached for further comment.